Show Review: Arctic Monkeys @ Stubbs

The show preview mentioned the potential to be drenched in sweat. Many were. It was hot. Stubb’s staff was kind enough to throw bottles of water into the crowd that wouldn’t dare give up their spots down front for something as silly as fluids.

Alex Turner and the boys picked a helluva time to play an outside show in Austin, but touring in support of a recently released album sometimes requires scheduling to be less than perfect. It was a frenzied atmosphere, softened slightly by summer. To their credit, I recall the phrase “If you ask us, it’s not hot enough” being used to get the crowd even more worked up. The Arctic Monkeys put on a brilliant performance with openers Young Buffalo earning their deserved buzz.

More details and plenty of pics after the break…

Young Buffalo call the Mississippi Oxford home. Started as a solo project by Jim Barrett, Ben Yarbrough and Alex Von Hardberger fill out the lineup. These gents know music. They harmonize remarkably well for a new band and can swap places on stage. “Catapilah” was blisteringly good. The pleasant punctuation on their set was a cover of “The Chain”. It was heavy harmony. Hopefully, it finds its way to market like their version of Broken Social Scene’s “Anthem for a 17-Yr-Old Girl”. After their set, I caught the guys seeking out the breeze towards the back of the house. While they enjoyed taking in the Arctic Monkeys with the crowd, they look forward to a day when they get mobbed by fans. #GoodProblemToHave

In the twenty minutes between sets, the sun finally said good night. The Arctic Monkeys took to the stage with a business-like demeanor, and then began an arcing setlist that spanned from the demos up to the latest and greatest. Style note, the band cleans up nice; hair styles for the evening on three of four members could get them mistaken for extras in Grease.

“Library Pictures” led off. This track sets the excellent rhythm section on point, changing tempos while keeping the band in check. “Brainstorm” brought the jams. The set moved in ebbs and flows, new and old. Interestingly, I feel that unlike many concerts where there is a great demand for a band’s early work, the crowd was just as primed to sing along to “The Hellcat Spangled ShaLaLa” as “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor”.

The regular set closed with “When the Sun Goes Down”. It included a lovely extra break between the scumbag-dontchaknows at the beginning, during which Alex’s intentional pandering for audience reaction was rewarded. The setlist had three encores, but “Suck It and See” was left out; it may have been heat stroke avoidance or in order to meet the Stubb’s weeknight curfew. Either way, I don’t mind. It was an ambitious twenty-one songs in the queue. So from Favourite Worst Nightmare, “Fluorescent Adolescent” and a nearly perfect “505” finished the night.

Hydration and sleep required. Nice way to kick off the hottest part of the pre-back-to-school season…

More pics available over at the photo site

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