Show Review: Arctic Monkeys with Screaming Females at Terminal 5, 12/10/09

by Gordon Elgart on December 11, 2009

Taking a clear photo when getting pushed by rabid Arctic Monkeys fans?  Nope.

Taking a clear photo when getting pushed by rabid Arctic Monkeys fans? Nope.

I’m in New York this week for some family stuff, and dinner went too late on Thursday night to try to pay over $100 for some Broadway tickets, so while looking for something to do, I came across the Arctic Monkeys show happening across town. A friend of mine had flown out from San Francisco solely to see their two shows in town, and I asked her what the scene was like, and she made it sound like a good idea. So my first full Arctic Monkeys set was going to be a spur of the moment thing.

I made my across town on the M57 (sorry Vampire Weekend) and found a mass of people wandering around selling and buying tickets to the sold out show. Rather than deal with trying to negotiate a good deal in the cold, I paid $40 to the first guy who looked legit, and we walked in together. I made a remark about not having any cash left for the coat check, and he gave me back $5!  What a nice guy!

When I got inside, Screaming Females were already on stage. I only spotted one female on stage, but she was definitely screaming. Man, she sounded awesome. She both sang and screamed with power, and much rock music was played. A good start to my first show at Terminal 5.

Terminal 5 is an odd venue, as you walk in on the right side of the hall. If you want to get to the left, you really can’t. It’s VIP. There’s two balcony levels that overlook the stage, but I didn’t make my way up to them. I’m told that Alex Turner has a celebrity girlfriend named Alexa Chung (I had never heard of her), and that she was there on the balcony overlooking the stage. This was a big deal to some; to me, I came to hear some music.

The Arctic Monkeys played an 80-minute set full of songs I hardly know, a couple I knew OK, and “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor.” What struck me about them that I had never noticed is that sometimes Alex Turner tries to do John Lennon, writing songs that sound like his and singing them in a Lennon style. These were my favorite bits in the show, with the exception of the really fast numbers.

When these got played, most notably “Dancefloor” but also “View From the Afternoon” and the Nick Cover “Red Right Hand,” the pushing got a little intense. There was a group of what I’ll politely call hooligans who were doing some serious shoulder slamming into their neighbors. In one way, this was a bit obnoxious, but it was also a bit welcome to see the crowd enjoying the show with such gusto. I felt like somewhat of a poseur, being up front at the show without being able to sing every word of the hits, but I took my bumps and bruises by the band and left impressed.

The cool fan favorite highlight moment of the show, the one that people may still be talking about on forums for years, was when the drummer came out from behind the drumset to sing a verse of Wham’s “Last Christmas.” The chorus became a giant singalong, and we were all reminded what time of year it was. And with that, they wished us all a happy holidays.

My first full Arctic Monkeys set gave me a much deeper appreciation for the band, and although I still don’t know the titles of any of the songs–yeah I like that bouncy number they played that time with the guitar thing–I could definitely see myself taking a bus across town to see them again. And what more could you ask for?

My friend said, “you probably don’t understand why I follow them across the country.” And while I wouldn’t do it myself, I totally understand.

Thanks to Blake for letting me photograph his setlist:

S

ArcticSetlist

Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Vanessa Romero December 11, 2009 at 10:38 pm

his girlfriend is an mtv vj in NY which is why I’m guessing they played shows there.

Reply

Vanessa Romero December 11, 2009 at 10:40 pm

Oh wait, I forgot, I actually had a potential witty comment:

Oh so Screaming Females was the name of a band and not just a description of the audience?

Reply

Carlos December 12, 2009 at 3:12 pm

WTF? I thought this was a Bay Area blog. Do you proof your work before you post?
BTW- do your homework: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexa_Chung

Reply

Gordon Elgart December 12, 2009 at 8:37 pm

It’s a blog written by Bay Area music nerds, and sometimes we travel, see shows and write about them. We’ve covered shows in England, Seattle, LA, Texas, and now New York. Wherever we go, there’s some band worth seeing.

As for my research, I was told immediately who she was, but it’s funnier if I don’t know.

Reply

blakejp December 13, 2009 at 10:05 am

good review, thanks for the mention! Poor Carlos, he must be so lonely

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