10 Observances from Arctic Monkeys live at Madison Square Garden

Posted by The G on February 10, 2014 under G Reviews | Read the First Comment

Photos by G.

Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys

Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys

If you read any music website these days, they can’t stop stroking it over the band Arctic Monkeys.  During the release of last year’s “AM” album, their fifth record, the band blew up and are now playing arenas.  Despite their growing popularity, prior to seeing them live, I’d only heard two of their songs.  Because I am in a position to meet the people that create the art, I often choose to meet the artist before I take a look at their work because from experience, countless artists of all genres that have severely rocked my world have been super cool and others whose art I could take or leave have turned out to be pricks.  There is too much choice in the world for me to waste my time with people that have little or no respect for the very people that have contributed to their success.  Despite having TWO bad experiences meeting this band, I fully admit that the two songs I know from this band I quite enjoy, so I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and see them live.

This has happened to me many times before where I am literally sitting in an arena filled with 18,000  people and I have NO IDEA of any of the music I am about to hear.  This method is not for everyone, but I highly recommend it.  You can truly go in with an open mind and let these people do their jobs as rock stars and turn you into a fan before the night is over.  Arctic Monkeys played their largest ever US show on February 8, 2014 at Madison Square Garden in New York.  Here are 10 observations from my experience at the show.

1. The concert was not much of a ‘show.’  Playing Madison Square Garden is a privilege and not a right, so one would have thought this show would have been a spectacle as most concerts at the Garden are, especially since the band has spent 5 albums working up to this moment.  Instead, the Arctic Monkeys had a gigantic but thin “A M” sign behind the band that lit up predictably during most songs.  It was definitely a medium sized show placed in a large venue.

2. Arctic Monkeys do very little to get the crowd engaged.  There was little banter between lead singer Alex Turner and the crowd.  Turner played guitar for most songs and as a result, he stood in one place behind the microphone stand for the majority of the show.  Crowd sing-a-longs were not happening either, which brings me to point number 3…

3. Arctic Monkeys songs are mostly forgettable.  They do have some catchy moments, but would I rather listen to or see a band like Kasabian, Fratellis or Scissor Sisters whose music will not leave your head once it burrows itself inside?  Yeah, any day!  I mention these three bands because to me, Arctic Monkeys are an amalgamation of these 3 bands.  I made myself a playlist of all the songs they performed in concert so I can focus on the studio versions and  like I felt at the show, the music is pleasant and not offensive, but that’s about all I can say for it.  I don’t see myself listening to their music on constant repeat.

4. Their music is very formulaic overall.  Not very exciting verses and large choruses.  So original.  NOT!

5. They focused too much on their new album.  They played all but 2 tracks off their newest record so fans that have been with Arctic Monkeys since the beginning have effectively been forgotten at their largest show to date in America.  What a way to say thanks to your fans.  Based on my not good experiences of meeting them, I am not surprised one bit.

6. The crowd was limp.  As I said earlier, the band did very little to get the crowd engaged but for this bullet point, I’d like to focus on the lack of the crowd getting excited during songs.  Sure there was generous applause in between songs, but it seemed that once a song started, people went back to texting and taking annoying cell phone pictures of either the band or the people they came with instead of getting involved with the show.  I spent a lot of time looking around at the crowd reaction during the songs and for the lack of excitement I saw, I think people would have been better off playing the records at home and saving the expense and hassle of going to an arena.  This is actually an observation that can be noted at most concerts as technology has really hindered people’s ability to live in the moment, but that’s a grievance for another day.

7. Their music, though popular, had little crossover appeal with people over 30.  The crowd was extremely young and I felt like a dinosaur.  For a rock band, I thought the crowd would be a bit more diverse, but I was wrong.

8. Lead singer Alex Turner is cute.  Not the hottest guy I’ve ever seen, but he definitely has a 1950s greaser vibe going on and when I found myself getting bored, I was happy that I had some eye candy.

9. They covered The Beatles as safely as possible.  It was the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles being on the Ed Sullivan Show on the weekend of the Arctic Monkeys concert so they played a little tribute to the Fab Four.  They chose “All My Loving.”   It was a “by the numbers” cover.  No risk involved.  Of course, every music site is juicing all over it like they took a risk and played “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey” or “Helter Skelter” which would have been much more suited to their style.  But with the new trend in playing covers, I am grateful they didn’t do an ironic cover where they played an acoustic version of a song that has no business being disrespected that way.

10. Final thoughts.  I am more familiar with Arctic Monkeys than I was before I walked into the show.    I can’t say I hated the show, because I did not.  I also can’t say that I will become a die hard after seeing them live.  They have a handful of songs that I can see myself revisiting and they have many more that were completely forgettable to me.  I make it my mission to have fun wherever I go, in spite of my surroundings, and yes, I had fun.  But that says more about me than it says about Arctic Monkeys.  I can’t believe that in the two times I’ve seen this band in “autograph situations” they chose to ignore fans because I see no reason to patronize a mediocre band who have let a tiny bit of fame go to their heads.  There are plenty of other bands who appreciate the position they are in and who are better performers.

The setlist was:

Do I Wanna Know? / Brainstorm / Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair / Snap Out of It / Crying Lightning / Old Yellow Bricks / Fireside/ Knee Socks / Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High? / Arabella / Dancing Shoes / Pretty Visitors / I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor / Cornerstone / I Wanna Be Yours / Fluorescent Adolescent / 505 (with Miles Kane)

Encore:
All My Loving (The Beatles cover) (with Miles Kane) / One For The Road / R U Mine?

Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys 2

Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys

 

Video: “All Eyes On You” live by St. Lucia

Posted by The G on January 29, 2014 under G Videos | Comments are off for this article

Video and Photos by G.

St. Lucia

St. Lucia

Jean-Philip Grobler, known by his stage name St. Lucia, is a South-African-born and Brooklyn-based musician.  Ahead of a tour opening for Foster The People in 2014, St. Lucia played four sold out shows at Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall of Williamsburg, respectively.  I attended the finale of the 4 at Bowery Ballroom on January 19, 2014.

Jean-Philip Grobler of St. Lucia

Jean-Philip Grobler of St. Lucia

One of the highlights of the set (in addition to the super cool and trippy visuals that will be perfect on the same bill as Foster the People) was the song “All Eyes On You” which you can see below by pressing play!  There is no doubt you’ll be hearing a lot more from St. Lucia in 2014 and beyond.

St Lucia

St Lucia

St Lucia

St Lucia

Jean-Philip Grobler of St Lucia and Geoffrey Dicker

Jean-Philip Grobler of St Lucia and Geoffrey Dicker

Thanks Jean-Philip!  Best of luck to you!

 

 

An Encounter with Jim Kerr of Simple Minds

Posted by The G on November 6, 2013 under Encounters with G | Comments are off for this article

Photo by G.

Jim Kerr of Simple Minds and Geoffrey Dicker

Jim Kerr of Simple Minds and Geoffrey Dicker

Holy crap!  I’ve been waiting a long time to get the chance to see Simple Minds and in October 2013, my (new gold) dream came true!  After a great show that squeezed in all the songs I wanted to hear live (including “All the Things She Said,” “Sanctify Yourself,” “Alive and Kicking” and “Promised You A Miracle,”), I met Simple Minds front man Jim Kerr.  It was a chilly night and he still took the time to greet a bunch of frozen fans, who like me, have been waiting a decade to get the chance to see Simple Minds in concert.  Jim mentioned that there is a good chance that Simple Minds will be back in 2014 on tour, so if you missed them this time around, you still may have a shot to see them.  YES!  Thanks again Jim for the great music that has helped shape my life!

Review: The 1975 live at Bowery Ballroom

Posted by The G on October 10, 2013 under G Reviews | Comments are off for this article

Photos by G.

Matthew Healy of the 1975

Matthew Healy of the 1975

Hot new band alert!  The UK’s The 1975 played their first of two sold out shows at Manhattan’s Bowery Ballroom on October 9, 2013.  The pop/rock quartet from England have been around for 10 years and 2013 is their break out year.  They hit the stage around 10 pm and for a little over an hour, they thrilled the crowd with songs such as “Chocolate,” “Sex” and “The City.”  The crowd sung along to most every track and in addition to having stylish haircuts, flashing strobe lights made the show extra fun to watch.

The 1975

The 1975

Rather than leave the stage before the encore, lead singer Matt Healy asked the crowd if they could just play straight through and the crowd replied with thunderous applause.  All of The 1975’s songs were very catchy, almost made to be placed in films and commercials, so if that appeals to you, check out their music!  I spotted the one and only Lindsay Lohan at the show and if you read this blog somewhat regularly (aka, you are one of my heroes), I’m sure you know how that ended.  Catch The 1975 again tonight at Bowery Ballroom.  No word on if you’ll catch Miss Lindsey there too, but either way, you will have a great time!  See the setlist below (featuring drummer George Daniel’s blood – he cut himself during the show, but was a real trooper and played on!)

The 1975 Setlist Bowery Ballroom

The 1975 Setlist Bowery Ballroom

 

Luke Steele of Empire of the Sun Changes His “No Photos With Fans” Policy

Posted by The G on June 28, 2013 under Encounters with G | 2 Comments to Read

Photo by G.

Luke Steele of Empire of the Sun and Geoffrey Dicker

Luke Steele of Empire of the Sun and Geoffrey Dicker

A photo I never thought I’d ever see! Australian indie pop/dance band Empire of the Sun is back with an excellent new album called “Ice on the Dune.”  I’ve loved Empire of the Sun for many years and when I met lead singer Luke Steele in 2010 (my, how time flies!) he told me that Prince inspired his ‘no photos with fans’ policy.  We had quite a lengthy discussion that day, as I am an expert in the world of useless Prince knowledge/experiences, and I strongly advised Luke not to follow in Prince’s footsteps in this way as it scars fans.  He listened to what I had to say, however at that time, it made no difference in his policy.  I can only assume Luke took these words to heart and I am over the moon to report that he has changed his stance.  He didn’t flinch when I asked him for a photo a mere 3 years later, and in fact, I witnessed him posing with several fans!  This is awesome news for those of us who like to have the ultimate fan experience.  While I cannot guarantee you will have as great of an experience as I had if you have an encounter with Luke Steele, at least you will know such an awesome experience is possible.  Thanks Luke for rethinking your policy and congratulations on another fantastic record which I hope will bring you even more success!

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