Review: Arctic Monkeys in Wellington

ROCK N ROLL MONSTER: The Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner
ROCK N ROLL MONSTER: The Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner

Arctic Monkeys
TSB Arena, Wellington, 3 May 2014

Alex Turner might be a bit of a dick but the Arctic Monkeys frontman has a swagger and a hip shake that makes Elvis' legendary pelvis pale in comparison.

The lads from Sheffield - often heralded as the first band that shot to fame using the internet when their debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not became the fastest selling album in UK history in 2006 - have grown up in the public eye from pimply teens with a snotty attitude to self assured world class show men.

And Turner had the crowd at his fingertips, with his slick hair, smart shirt, jacket and rock star attitude from the get-go.

But the show hadn't started out all that promising. When we entered, the TSB Arena was still filling up, and Australian openers Pond sounded like a rattling mush of reverb. But within a couple of songs the soundmen got the mix under control and towards the end the group, who shares a bunch of members with other Perth psychedelic outfit Tame Impala, sounded pretty neat.

I have been to a whole lot of shows at Wellington's TSB Arena but never have I heard a crowd with lungs like this.

Their longing wailing was deafening and it was a relief to see Turner and his men strut on stage and break into One For The Road from their fantastic album AM. On that album Turner sounds like a rock n roll monster that has had Justin Timberlake for breakfast to become a raw and sexy beast.

Their first album was outstanding, but AM lifted their game another notch, or five really.

And last night they delivered, with the first highlight of the night being Arabella, referencing Black Sabbath's War Pigs.

Even songs from the band's weaker albums, like Don't Sit Down 'Cause I Moved Your Chair, were delivered with such a menacing darkness they just worked.

Turner told us he liked us already before launching into Dancing Shoes from their first album and he kept doing this cheesy thing where he talks to the audience just to break into song half way.

This could have come across as a bit lame, but whatever Turner did worked last night, because his confidence is bigger than the TSB Stadium, bigger than Wellington, maybe even bigger than our whole country.

If Alex Turner could have sex with himself, he certainly would. But as he can't he pours this unrequited love into his performance and were are showered with his cockiness. And the crowd adored him.

The band were tight, and the sound great, no matter if they make the audience bounce like maniacs to I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor, go crazy to the perfectly delivered Do I Wanna Know or take out their mobile phones and sway like seaweed in the current to No1. Party Anthem.

When the Arctic Monkeys left the stage the crowd got even louder, knowing there's more to come. The band returned with Why Do You Only Call Me When You're High and the sold out arena went even a bit more nuts. After I Wanna Be Yours they finished with their hit single R U Mine. And we're all bedazzled.

I am not sure what I expected, especially after hearing from many that their last Wellington performance, a warm up show at the Town Hall for the Big Day Out in 2009 was a bit lacklustre.

But this, Mr Turner was one of the best gigs I have been to. Tight, on the spot and delivered with a dirty sexiness that had true rock star written all over it.