Cutting to the chase; first up on the evening were breakthrough youngsters The Strypes, as they continue to ride on the wave they got started in 2012. This support slot being one many up and comers, and some more established, might've killed for or at least sold a relative, it's an even bigger break for this four piece, and one that will likely cement the success they've garnered so far. I'll be honest though, I'm still wondering which one of them has a family member in the music industry. Call me sceptical, call me cynical, but I can't trust the four kids release an EP of blues covers and suddenly they're getting fandom from the likes of Paul Weller, Dave Grohl, Jeff Beck, and Noel Gallagher, among others. I mean, it could've been being signed to Elton John's management company, and his being a fan but... Maybe I'm bitter. I'm definitely bitter. Anyway, given their youthful explosion of success, it seems appropriate they're supporting Alex Turner and co the epitome of youthful success as a band. The four piece offer up a few of their blues and R'n'B covers, and some of their own material, which admittedly sounds a lot like their old blues and R'n'B covers. They go over well with the crowd though, particularly Blue Collar Jane, and they're young enough to develop into their own sound from here, with plenty of support to do so. http://youtu.be/gZb8nEemK2k Main event though, after a little extended wait unless the guy letting people out to smoke wasn't wholly up to speed with set times of course it's the return of the ever evolving Arctic Monkeys. Swaggering on the back of yet another number one album, consecutively so, they arrive on stage to rapturous applause and get things underway with Do I Wanna Know? Now, this is my third time of seeing Arctic Monkeys live, and third of seeing them in Cardiff. First being the Favourite Worst Nightmare tour, the second Suck It And see, and the third being AM, obviously. The band have come on a long way during that time, musically and performance wise. The band now boast a proper show, in comparison to their earlier more minimalist approach (turn up, play the songs, toddle off), and Alex Turner for better or worse has developed into more of a 'frontman'. Something that was set in motion on Suck It And See (all crowd pointing and combing his quiff), has come to fruition with stage banter, a sparkly suit jacket, club singer dance moves, and that strange new accent he introduced at Glastonbury. I'll be honest, I preferred the contrary and focussed Alex of old, but ho hum, you can't have everything. http://youtu.be/bpOSxM0rNPM The songs though, as always are there, with a couple being played from every album throughout the set. With a back catalogue like the Monkeys', there's going to be some omissions that many will grumble about but you can't argue with what they do play. Set spoilers ahead. Whether it's the given Dancefloor, Dancing Shoes, and Mardy Bum, from the first album; Brianstorm, Teddypicker, Fluorescent Adolescent, and Old Yellow Bricks from Favourite Worst Nightmare; Pretty Little Visitors, Crying Lightning, and Cornerstone from Humbug; Don't Sit Down 'cause I've Moved Your Chair and Reckless Serenade from Suck It And See, or heavily featuring songs from AM it is the tour after all. The set might be a little too heavily centred around AM it's got a couple really good tunes, and is a bit of a grower, but it is far from Arctic's best, despite what many journos may tell you as they lapped it up and wiped it from their lips immediately on release but with the tunes they boast throughout the set, the reaction from the crowd, the sing-a-long after sing-a-long, and the encore of two of AM's best tracks (Snap Out Of It and R U Mine?) sandwiching old favourite Mardy Bum. You can't really knock it, regardless of Alex Turner's new found dancing shoes and cheesy stage banter, or lags in the set with some of the new songs - even if they do give away some of the' inspiration' to Arabella by dropping War Pigs by Black Sabbath in the middle of it briefly. http://youtu.be/Uhe4_oR7M1A I will say though, 'what came first; the chicken or the dickhead?' could be re-asked as 'what came first; the Arctics or the dickheads?' Their crowds seem to be attracting more dickheads with each time, mind you that might just be Cardiff, as unnecessary fights erupted, on account of dickhead behaviour, ending in one case with a father being put in hospital for trying to stand up for the daughters that he'd taken to the gig.
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