Photographs by Neil Van.
After countless sold out appearances at the Kool Haus, England’s Arctic Monkeys finally graduated to play their biggest headlining gig in Toronto last night at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre.
Riding high on the success of their fifth album, AM, I was still a bit surprised at the leap in size of venue when the show was announced. I was shocked they sold the place out, and fast. The Monkeys are definitely reaping the rewards of constant North American touring and a strong groovy album in AM.
It was a perfect summer evening for an outdoor show, so the crowd was ready, pumped and really enthusiastic, leaping to their feet right from the get-go.
Alex Turner and company hit the stage just after 9 and kicked the night off with their recent breakout hit “Do I Wanna Know?” a brave and cocky move to pull, but one the band managed to pull off with ease thanks to their fine AM and their strong back catalogue. No more is Turner with a floppy fringe clutching his guitar almost across his chest, reluctantly thrust into the limelight. Now he appears to be channeling Elvis with his greased hair, hip shakes and the knowing pointed fingers.
Over the course of 80 minutes the band touched on all five albums including radio hits “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor”, “Brianstorm” and “Don’t Sit Down Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair”, but it was the heavily represented AM tracks that got the biggest response from the very perky crowd. “Arabella” morphed into a bit of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”, “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High” was a big sing-along and “No. 1 Party Anthem” had the entire area lit up with cell phone lights.
Overall, success hasn’t appeared to change this band. No major overhaul was required to move this hard working band in transitioning from rooms to the sheds. Bigger lighting was the only difference aside from the set-list sequencing from their last Kool Haus gig when AM was released. The Monkeys are having their moment and definitely seized it last night in the most urgent way.