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April 8, 2010

Concert review: Arctic Monkeys at Rams Head Live

arctic monkeysThe Arctic Monkeys made a name for themselves with music that pairs a punk attitude and indie rock sensibilities.

During a sold-out show at Rams Head Live last night, the British five-piece took their studio work and cranked up the dial. The hooks were bigger, the drums beefier and the vocals more careless.

Many of the Arctic Monkeys songs take unexpected twists, veering from thrashing percussion to slower passages with sickly guitar riffs.

Last night, the band took the turns with laser sharp precision ...

The crunchy guitars and choppy beats of "I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor" got the crowd jumping, and later gave way to the ephemeral keyboards and pulsing beats of "505," the closer from their sophomore release, "Favourite Worst Nightmare."

The band didn't play their early hit "Fake Tales of San Francisco" -- odd, considering they only have three albums. But they did offer a gritty cover of Nick Cave's "Red Right Hand."

After a couple songs, lead singer Alex Turner, long-haired and lanky, mumbled a few obligatory words about how great it was to be in Baltimore. Turner and crew didn't waste much breath talking before getting right back to the rock.

The Arctic Monkeys' songs have a habit of pausing halfway through. Live, this lets the crowd cheer, and then the band picks back up where they left off. Last night, it was fun the first couple times, but grew gratuitous -- as though they were holding up the song like a trophy for the crowd to applaud.

The staging was simple: A large silver screen hung behind the band, and lights flashed from behind and in front of them. At times, the band's figures cast big shadows on the backdrop. A few hapless fans even tried crowd surfing (it generally didn't go so well).

The boys in Arctic Monkeys have a sound and attitude that belies their age. Turner is only 23(!). He was in his teens when the band hit the mainstream overseas. They're not quite as big here yet, but if last night's show was any indication, they might be.

(AP photo of Arctic Monkeys performing at last year's All Point West festival)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:40 AM | | Comments (12)


Sorry I missed this one. Saw these guys at Sonar when they were on their maiden US tour. Great little band.

Did they play "Crying Lightning"? That's one of my favorite songs of theirs.

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GREAT SHOW last night but it didnt look "sold out" - NOT as crowded as Megadeth a few weeks back.

Here is one of my shots:

I am a fan of the band and actually was in attendance with Sam as a friend, I tend to be into underground rock and punk and I was pleasantly suprised by the energy induced in the crowd by the performance by the rockers on the stage. It was harder and faster than I expected and I thought it was one of the top two shows I've seen at Ramshead

Good show, but no Fake Tales, Ritz to Rubble , When the Sun goes down, or Certain Romance. What was up with that.

It was a good show by the band. Bad show by the Rams Head Sound mixing. I like my punk tinnier. Some very good vocals and guitar got washed out. I enjoyed it but It could have been so much better. I agree with Owen on the strength of the performance, as the band kinda won me over. My fiancé is a fan of the band and got me to go.
BTW, Sam I was the guy that said Hi after the show. Good to meet you.

artic monkeys so great!!! i love music :)

Rich, nice meeting you too!

I've been there too, and i think it was a great show. Especially great compared to the HIM concert in Sonar couple of weeks ago. Arctic Monkeys at least looked like they were playing music because they are enjoying it, not because they have to. And the drummer was amazing!

Turner is 24 bud.

I was at the show and it was AMAZING. I saw them in DC at the 9:30Club in December, and Thursday's concert was far better. The boys always deliver, and I was able to get them to take pictures with me and sign my t-shirt. Honestly one of the best bands to see (and meet).

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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