Sheffield super band Arctic Monkeys are preparing a homecoming party that is being tipped as the concert of the year as they enter the record books, writes Graham Walker.
When front man Alex Turner, drummer Matt Helders, guitaists Jamie Cook and Nick O’Malley take the spotlight they will perform to the biggest capacity crowd ever at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena.
Multi-million pound work to increase seating and improve services allowed the venue to sell 13,600 tickets – including floor standing access.
The previous record was 13,300 to see fellow Sheffield band Pulp last December.
Arctic Monkeys fans queued outside the venue 10-deep and for up to 20 hours to get their hands on tickets for the show this Saturday night which will mark the end of an eight-date UK tour.
They sold out in “an instant” and it’s the hottest ticket in town. Possibly ever. Gold dust.
And if you’re lucky enough to have one you’ll see just what all the fuss is about when the Steel City’s own Fab Four walk out on stage in two days.
VIDEO: One For The Road - press the play button to watch the music video for the Arctic Monkeys’ forthcoming single.
Celebrating their fifth consecutive number one album, AM, they gave the first glimpse of their all new grown up material when they conquered Glastonbury.
The album has since left fans drooling to hear the songs performed live, not least of all where it all began.
“We’re the Arctic Monkeys from Sheffield”, lead singer Alex has been proudly telling hundreds of thousands of fans on their world tour, standing in front of the band’s drum kit which displays the numbers 0114. It’s an ‘in-joke’ for the benefit of Sheffield fans and a reminder that family and friends are just a phone call away.
Alex, with his rockabilly quiff, stands there as cool as James Dean. His voice has matured to match the lyrics of his latest offerings and he’s quite simply grown up to be the perfect indie-rock star.
Gone is the juvenile arrogance, replaced by an ever more confident front man who wants to engage with his audience and have some Yorkshire fun.
The set list includes many of their crowd pleasing greatest hits, not least I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor, and most of the latest album, including spectacular opener Do I Wanna Know?, the exhilarating R U Mine?, haunting tune One For The Road, Arabella, with it’s memorable guitar solo, and the infectious Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?
Alex’s reputation as a phrase-maker has been assured. Still very much present and correct is his use of Yorkshire-isms “summat in your teeth” and “simmer down and pucker up”.
He also delivers killer two-liners, such as “Been wondering if your heart’s still open/And if so I wanna know what time it shuts.” He lingers tenderly over lines like “RU Mine?” “She’s a silver lining lone ranger riding through an open space in my mind”.
He says: “There was a lot of sitting up on my own all night long battling with the puzzle this time - probably more than before.
“I had a dartboard in the back garden and I’d throw arrows as I’d sit there trying to write. There was definitely some symmetry in how the words were going and where the darts would land - a fair amount of missing the board altogether brought me the occasional treble twenty”.
Anyone worried that Arctic Monkeys are now all grown-up will be reassured by the thing they really liked about the AM soundwave which adorns the cover of the album. Alex laughs: “It kind of looks like a bra”.
Arctic Monkeys play Sheffield Motorpoint Arena, Saturday, November 2. Support is four-piece The Strypes.
For more visit the band’s official web site at www.arcticmonkeys.com.