Yeah, the 'Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino' live show is weird too
I know I said this about Nils Frahm, but what business do Arctic Monkeys have at Primavera Sound? It’s an old fashioned thing to think of a festival that’s booked Arcade Fire and The Strokes in the past few years, but plenty are thinking it – those who have traditionally chosen Primavera over Benicàssim and drone rock over lad rock. There’s going to be a lot of bucket hats tonight. And there are.
There’s no question that there’s a vibe this evening that feels alien to Primavera – a vibe that sings the guitar lines, that has a bald British bloke shout “Come on you fuckers!?” at the end of ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor’ (tossed out third in the set), either in appreciation of a “proper band” or in anger at the instantly disinterested crowd around him.
This guy, I’m pretty sure, did not enjoy the rest of the show, which broke down like this…
Arctic Monkeys are no longer four mates expertly but dimly bashing through superior indie songs – and that’s a good thing. For a start, they’ve got all sorts of help up there now, including a keyboard player and a third guitarist doing Alex Turner’s parts on the songs he’d rather thrust around the stage to. Turner – a constantly baffling spectacle – does play his instrument plenty, although on some songs he simply wears a guitar for a bit and takes it off mid song. Similarly, a fledgling pianist, he sits at an electric piano for parts of the new ‘Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino’ songs (there are 5) only for this new ghost pianist behind him to do most of the playing, especially on ‘One Point Perspective’.