Black Keys and the Arctic Monkeys at Key Arena

May 8, 2012

Late Tuesday afternoon Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys stopped by the station to play a couple of songs.  He was going to play in a small studio but the sun was s hining and the wind was barely howling so we set up on the deck with a beautiful view of Seattle from the 16th floor.  Alex is from England so it was a safe bet that a little wind wasn't going to be too much to handle. 

When he arrived he immediately broke out a pack of Camel's, lit one up in the wind and went to the mic.  He played a couple of songs with the acoustic guitar, packed up and headed down to Key Arena for the show. 

Fast forward a couple of hours and the Arctic Monkeys take the stage at Key Arena in front of a packed house filled with a diverse crowd of screaming fans ages 6 to 60+  Alex jumped out on stage and started playing his guitar like he was mad at it.  The crowd was worked into a frenzy when he would shout things like "Are you still hungry Seattle?" and "Come on Seattle, clap your hands!  Don't be a dick about it!"  I stepped back and watched the crowd bobbing their heads in sync with each other and saw a ton of cell phone videos that were more than likely going to make viewers very dizzy from the jumping up an down.

Bright strobes were pretty intense during the show.  I saw the light guy manually working the strobe dials to the point of exhaustion.  All in all the in my opinion the Arctic Monkeys put on a solid, fun performance and were a great compliment to the Black Keys.  I hope to see them again soon.

Drummer Matt Helders was throwing sticks left, right, up and down.  He was introduced as "The Man that is on your Girlfriends mind" just before he sang Brick by Brick while maintaining a steady rythm on the drums.

Headlining the night was of course the Black Keys.  Harrison shown in the Black Keys Tee Shirt and his friends who were also hard core Black Keys fans had been in the area since 11:00 in the morning in anticipation of the Ohio duo taking the stage. 

There were a few others in Key Arena eagerly wating for the show to start...

Black Keys took the stage...I wasn't allowed to photograph the first song so by song two they were already in the zone.  I can't decide which was louder, the band or the fans..too close to call.  Either way, they sounded great and really put on a phenomenal show.  Their success is very much deserved in my opinion and it was great to shoot their show.

I love the light in this shot below.  I immediately thought of telling camp fire stories with a flashlight under my chin when I saw it. 

More pics to come at

See you Friday at the Silversun Pickups Show at the Hard Rock Cafe! 

-Mat Hayward