Story by Rebecca Silverstein
When a band like The Arctic Monkeys cultivates so much hype after only a short time of being in the music circuit, it’s only natural to be a bit skeptical. How can a band, fresh on the touring circuit and all under the age of 21, really be as amazing as the media says they are?
Their first single, “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor,” made its debut at No. 1 on the British pop charts and since then, the Arctic Monkeys have been elevated to a certain degree of holiness in the music industry. Their first album, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I Am Not, was released in January and quickly became the fastest selling debut in British music history.
Their show last night at the Roseland Ballroom was huge. We Are Scientists opened with an amazingly crisp set, and the Arctic Monkeys came on soon after. Alex led the group through songs like “Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured,” “View From The Afternoon” and “From The Ritz to the Rubble,” and the fans were hooked. The passion and intensity all four of them put into the set were released, making it obvious that these guys actually do love what they are doing. And the fans seem to love it, too.
According to Alex, it’s been three years since the group played their first gig. A new band on the scene, the Arctic Monkeys kick around the stage like they own it: bathing in the fluorescent pinks and blues while their fans sing along: familiar with every word, every beat. The crowd surfing began halfway through the show, leading one crazed fan in heels to float from the front of the enormously long ballroom all the way to the back, singing along the entire time-the greatest surf I have ever seen.
There was a middle-aged man to the side of the stage, clad in his Hane’s His Way best t-shirt, and jeans just bowing — worshipping the Arctic Monkeys as they played their last song of the night: “A Certain Romance.” This man, along with the other thousands of fans at the Roseland Ballroom last night, appeared to be in love. In love with the band? In love with the hype? Who knows.
It’s hard to decide if the Arctic Monkeys lived up to the hype last night. There’s no doubt that these guys are incredibly talented, and their beats leave you no choice but to gyrate a bit in your seat due to the catchy rhythms and uniqueness of their sound. I do get the feeling that a bit of the hype has been hearsay: a perfunctory decision some folks have made after hearing one song, maybe two. The Arctic Monkeys are good, they perform well, but I’m not yet convinced that they are quite yet holier than thou.