Arctic Monkeys @ Showbox Sodo 08.10.11

August 9, 2011

Walking in late to the Sodo, the Monkeys already taken the stage and overwhelmingly boosted in the mix basslines are taking the bands traditional dancy sound to a darker place, shedding the simple high-hat driven post punk tunes the band originally found their pigeon hole with for something far more sinister. The sparse and jagged lighting contributed to the mood greatly and the crowd seemed clearly eager to bite with the new direction. The band launch into their latest record "Suck It And See"'s first single "Don't Sit Down Cuz I Moved Your Chair" which bulldozes driven by pounding drums and a churning bassline. The crowd seemingly transfixed and committed as heads hang and bodies move.

The band have clearly not only let the Josh Homme sound rub off on them (he manned the boards for their last few records) but they've also gone on to channel much of Queens eerie stage presence. The whole thing makes me think back to the first time I saw the boys at the gorge for Sasquatch some years ago, what was I believe their first North American appearance. Back then they were just young kids, excited to be breaking in America, now refined and slick they've traded youthful spite for post adolescent attitude, their intentions still ringing true and their sound as affirmed as ever as they work their way through a catalogue spanning set.

It's tough to decipher singer Alex's demeanor though, is he bored or just too cool? The place does seem a bit small for the band but the sold out crowd is certainly giving everything they've got back to them in return for each peak and frenzy they exchange. The room filled with an older crowd than I'd expected but with every breakdown the front third of the sea of heads begin to jump like the tide and you're reminded that youth is well represented here.

If the new songs bring along swagger and confidence the old ones still jump out with playfully arrogance. Making the bands transition between than and now a more understandably logical one. You don't burn out, you just grow up. And the arctic monkeys have done just that. Their attempt at cooling their way to cred is pulled off fantastically for the heavier tunes but falls flat on the slower airier ones as the band just come off undeniably as bored and low energy.

Crowd sing along for "Scummy man" they cling to each word with loving devotion. There's no denying Arctic Monkeys are a great band who pack a mean punch live, operating almost more as a machine than a fluid organism, I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be on a Wednesday night. For what it's worth I'm sure many of the small complaints I've brought up thus far could have been overlooked and perhaps gone unnoticed had it not been for the atrocious audio mix. Like an out of focus projector at a theater, you can't blame the film itself but the movie doesn't quite pack the same punch as what it deserved.