Sunday 17 December 2017



When the hell did Alex Turner become a proper front man? Remember the kid in the T-shirt who sang about robots from 1984? Gone. Remember the hairy lad wearing denim who warned us about sitting down? Gone. And what do we have in their place on a drizzly Saturday night in Marlay Park? Summat else entirely, mate.

The new and mightily improved Turner - a cross between Richard Hawley and Danny Zuko - is utterly mesmerising, in every sense of the word.

If you don't mind, we're going to excuse the tax-avoidance scheme revelations that surfaced this week (put it this way, it seems Turner and Gary Barlow have a lot more in common than we might have thought). Let's just stick to the tunes. And the look.

Indeed, Alex Turner (28) has discovered his inner sex symbol. Am I taken back by the young greaser from Sheffield with a voice that could cut through cement? Yes, yes I am. We all are. This is one cool cat we're dealing with.

Do I Wanna Know? is the first number tonight, and Turner's eyes are terrifying. A burning, six-string groove with Nick O'Malley's thunderous bass lurking beneath, it makes for an electrifying opener. The boys look hungry. Ruthless. Ready to conquer. They're gonna own this night and Turner is gonna do something we've never seen him do before - ditch the guitar and make like Elvis. Some hips on that lad.


A real rock 'n' roll band at the peak of their creative powers, Arctic Monkeys (now five albums deep) used to play the Kings of Leon card - show up, get the job done and try not to pull silly faces. Now, they're simply ferocious. That AM light display kicks ass, too.

Clearly, the lads forgot to tell drummer Matt Helders about their new wardrobe. It's all suits, leather jackets and shiny shoes. But Helders? He's only come dressed like a Beastie Boy circa '86. No mind. He's one of the fastest stick men on the road, a wild yet skilful player who never misses a beat, not even on the notoriously difficult Brianstorm.

The oldies hit us hard. Lads of all ages and sizes form a moshpit for I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor. Would Turner approve? Probably. These guys don't do group hugs, jokes or corny lines, but together, they make for a remarkable live unit; a super band of players whose scorching delivery knocks the wind out of us. They're plugged in - in more ways than one. "Aw, Marlay Park, I wanna be yours!" declares a magnetic Turner. And I want a Sheffield accent, kid. Keep up the fine work.

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