(Guest review by Dani Chavez)
Arctic Monkeys invaded SoCal for a sold-out show at Staples Center Thursday night. Led by front man Alex Turner, these British indie-rockers went through a lot of their catalog, playing classics like “I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor” and “505” and mixing in singles off their latest album AM.
California natives Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, or BRMC for short, got the show started opening up for AM. Two guys with sideburns, long hair, and leather jackets, and they make a lot of sound. They were perfect entertainment to get the crowd warmed up. BRMC is the type of band that even if you don’t know their music you can still have fun at their show, a skill many performers should invest in learning.[BRMC played a very well reviewed headlining set at The Observatory in Orange County Tuesday night]
Arctic Monkeys slayed the stage with “Do I Wanna Know?” and “Arabella,” but their stage presence was static and they lacked personality. Aside from the occasional side comment by Turner into the microphone it felt that at times the band forgot there was a crowd in front of them. They sounded great, which can be difficult in the vast expanses of Staples Center, but it seemed like they just played their album over the loud speaker instead of performing. There was little to no fan involvement which was disappointing for a band with a great live reputation.
Would I suggest someone see them in concert? Absolutely. Arctic Monkeys are great ear porn for rock music fans; a great mix of catchy hooks, popular hits, and dancy beats. But if you don’t know their songs and want to see a show not a note-for-note rendition of their albums, I’d suggest against it. The battle against the teenaged girls in chokers from Etsy and floral dresses from Brandy Melville is not worth it unless you have a deeply rooted love for the Arctic Monkeys and their songs. Of course, this is the expected result from a major corporate show at Staples Center as opposed to the 21+ club gig the Monkeys are best suited for.