Alex, Alexxx, ALEXXXX! These words could just about sum up the Arctic Monkeys’ gig at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, such was the fervour reverberating around the arena for the band’s singer, Alex Turner. The 28 year-old has an oddly powerful hold over his audience – boy and girl alike – as he struts and poses throughout, and the result is the loudest screaming this reviewer has ever heard in the venue. More on that in a second.
The opening band for tonight is Perth’s always-excellent Pond. “Alex will be here soon; until then you’re stuck with us,” says frontman Nick Allbrook, but it’s a situation everyone’s happy with. Psychedelic rock rarely makes an appearance in a venue of this size, and it’s a great sight to behold to see the quintet brilliantly jam through their best-known tracks. They’re a band that can make a set seem like a perfectly ramshackle fuck-around while still being tight as hell, in only the best possible way.
With a backdrop of the huge glowing letters A and M and a retina-destroying light show, Arctic Monkeys arrive to deafening screams from every corner of what must be an almost sold-out venue. As they start with ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ and move through ‘Snap Out Of It’, ‘Arabella’ and ‘Brianstorm’, it’s clear the band are tour-tight and focussed, and all eyes are on Turner as he moves from one side of the stage to the other, soaking up the adulation, shaking his hips, and showing how far charisma can take someone who uses it cleverly.
The first big, big moment comes at the start of ‘Don’t Sit Down Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair’; a song that remains the band’s best, before Turner asks the audience “why do you only call me when you’re high, Brisbane?” Recent supports The Orwells claimed that every aspect of the band’s performance is mapped out, including ad-libs, and there is a feeling that that may be the case, but if it works this well it doesn’t really matter.
After an initial finisher of ‘505’ and despite sound problems in the encore during ‘R U Mine?’, which ended up being played twice, there was a very large group of satisfied people dispersing into the Brisbane night after this show.