Home Live Review Live Review: Arctic Monkeys @ Merriweather Post Pavilion — 9/7/23

Live Review: Arctic Monkeys @ Merriweather Post Pavilion — 9/7/23

Live Review: Arctic Monkeys @ Merriweather Post Pavilion — 9/7/23
The Arctic Monkeys perform at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Sept. 7, 2023. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Twenty years after their first live performance, the Arctic Monkeys are still the most honest guys throwing cool looks at you from across the floor at the indie discotheque.

Their talent and their easy breezy capacity to hold the rapt attention of a stadium of 20,000 people was a testament to that fact when frontman Alex Turner and company performed recently at Merriweather Post Pavilion, located just outside of DC.

On Sept. 7, Arctic Monkeys visited Merriweather in support of The Car, the band’s seventh studio album, published last year by Domino Recording Company. The band did not dwell too much on the new album, presenting only three of the concert’s 21 songs from it. Standout tracks “Sculptures of Anything Goes” and later “There’d Better Be a Mirrorball” were slow burners that highlighted the band’s confidence attitude while also spotlighting Alex’s slowly simmering baritone. They are slow dance numbers from a Northern English doing self-aware romantic scene-setters with a dash of R&B styling.

Watch the official music video for “There’d Better Be a Music Ball” by Arctic Monkeys on YouTube:

Alex effortlessly led the proceedings from center stage, looking every ounce a rock star with his flowing hair and cowboy jeans. Throughout the show on Sept. 7, he soaked it all up, taking careful study of how he had such a large audience in the palm of his hand as the Merriweather Post Pavilion literally swooned over him.

Falling in behind him with equal aplomb, the other founding members of the Arctic Monkeys came to rock. Drummer Matt Welders was on fire. Guitarist Jamie Cook matched Alex in memorable poses and smoldering intensity. And bassist Nick O’Malley was the sturdy backbone for a number of incredible melodies built around his rhythms.

The biggest numbers of the night were no surprise: They were the Arctic Monkey’s showstoppers, of which there are now quite a few. Out of the gate, the band elicited a sense of fun with the whimsical putdown number “Brianstorm,” a surf number from their second album, Favourite Worst Nightmare (2007). The Arctic Monkeys took their instruments as if to issue a challenge to the audience that the night was going to be a good one. They soon performed fan-fave “Teddy Picker,” a post-punk delight from the same record.

But then the floodgates opened with “Crying Lightning” from 2009’s Humbug and it was clear the first fifth of the show was just warming the band up. Alex and his bandmates charged into “The View from the Afternoon” from their 2006 debut record, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. And hit new heights with the longing of “Knee Socks” before finally slaying the audience with breakout single “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” (2006) and “R U Mine” (2012) to close the main set.

There we were back in that indie rock music hall, making sparks with the good-looking people but doing so with a bit of a chip on our shoulders. That’s the Arctic Monkeys way.

Watch the official music video for “R U Mine” by Arctic Monkeys on YouTube:

In the 20 years since Arctic Monkeys first performed as a band in Sheffield, England, the gents have taken a big dose of spiky glam and smoothed it out into gloriously epic psych gems all while playing in the confines of a post-punk sandbox. Along the way, they have become an amazing live act that demand your attention while issuing their call to dancefloor action.

Catch the Arctic Monkeys on their current USA tour through Oct. 1.

Here are some photos of Arctic Monkeys performing at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Sept. 7, 2023. All pictures by Mickey McCarter.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here