Arctic Monkeys, The Little Flames
Laurence Ettridge 10/04/2007
9.30, Exeter University, a sweaty heat haze of impatience radiates from the crowd, having waited almost an hour, merely for the mundane ordinariness that is: The Little Flames.
Bursts of applause come for the shrugging roadies, out of pure frustration waiting for the second support to put the crowd out of their misery and be over and done with. Then not in keeping with the original schedule (although tonight we see no one complaining) Arctic Monkeys take the stage.
New B-side “If You Found This It's Probably Too Late” screams out viciously from Cook's guitar fuelled aggressively by Helders' drums, whilst front man Alex Turner squeezes so many words into the minute long track that it could potentially rival the speed of Jamie T. Typically without so much as a pause for breath let alone a “Good Evening”, the Monkeys rip into the A-side of its predecessor: “Brianstorm”.
The comeback single opens a vent for the crowd's earlier frustration to be unleashed in a manic explosion of energetic ecstasy, demolishing any questions or doubts from the cynics of “Is it as good as…?”, because the delighted reaction of the crowd proves the tune to truly have the effect of an “unforecasted storm”.
A host of “old” favourites get the expected obligatory word-for-word sing-a-long treatment from the crowd. Tonight, however, it is the reaction to the new material which give the Monkeys their deserved confirmation as one of the best bands of our generation. Aside from fan forum geeks showing off that they can already recite songs that are not released for another week, there is still an atmospheric feeling of excitement and enthusiasm to the likes of “Do Me A Favour” and “Teddy Picker” and nothing so patronising or cynical as to use debut album “Whatever…” as a yardstick. “House Is A Circus” is also appreciated greatly by the crowd as the song sees Exeter become “berserk as fuck”.
Mr Turner seems in high spirits himself on this disorientating hot April's evening, with the request of early demo “Choo Choo” provoking a smirk at the fact that he “hadn't heard that one asked for in a while” - (unfortunately they didn't play it).
“Mardy Bum” and “Fake Tales of San Francisco” come in quick succession, with a reply of chanting to every riff as well as every word. “Leave Before The Lights Come On” slots in smoothly as the penultimate tune, a song Turner had previously referred to as “the black sheep of the family”, achieving only top 4 status in August of last year.
Closer “A Certain Romance” is played with the same sincere honesty it always was, as the simple and delightful thing about the stage presence of these lads is honesty. The fact that they've seen the world now, doesn't make us doubt for a second that Turner still means every word, just as he did when we first heard the summing up of a generation in this song 18 months previously. Although there's still unconditional adoration for the old tunes, tonight's show leaves fans watering at the mouth for the Monkeys to do us a favour and bring on our Favourite Worst Nightmare.