Words and photos by Jenna Ethridge
On Oct. 20, Arctic Monkeys performed their first of two sold-out shows at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. Following the release of their latest album since 2013, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, the English rock band embarked on a world-wide tour that spanned over the course of four months.
Mini Mansions supported them on tour – a band from Los Angeles comprised of Zach Dawes (bassist for The Last Shadow Puppets), Tyler Parkford and Michael Shuman (bassist of Queens of the Stone Age). Arctic Monkeys and Mini Mansions have an extensive musical history together, as The Last Shadow Puppets is the alternate band of Arctic Monkeys’ frontman, Alex Turner. Mini Mansions also have a song in collaboration with Turner, “Vertigo,” which was performed, though Turner did not join them on stage to contribute vocals.
Their most recent EP, Works Every Time, was released on Sept. 28 of this year, from which they performed “Midnight in Tokyo” and the EP’s title track, “Works Every Time.” The band had an infectious energy that was reciprocated by the audience, as the auditorium erupted into applause following each song and fans screamed the names of their favorite songs, in hopes of hearing them live.
After an incredible 40 minute set, Mini Mansions left the stage and the anticipation for Arctic Monkeys grew rapidly.
Arctic Monkeys took the stage shortly after, Turner sporting a recent haircut drastically different from his usual image of slicked back, long locks. The stage was elaborately decorated with large, bright light fixtures and smoke that illuminated the band’s silhouettes. The band opened with “Four Out Of Five,” a song from their most recent album that has gained tremendous media coverage, such as on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Other new songs performed from Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino included the album’s title track, “One Point Perspective,” “American Sports” and “Star Treatment.”
The rest of their discography was also respectably represented, featuring songs from 2006’s Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, 2007’s Favourite Worst Nightmare, 2009’s Humbug and 2013’s AM. Popular songs such as “505,” “Do I Wanna Know?” and “R U Mine?” proved their timelessness, as they evoked the most intense reactions from the audience. Arctic Monkeys’ fans are notorious for their dedication to the band, evident by the large crowd that had already gathered outside of the venue as early as six in the morning on the day of the show.
After a much anticipated encore that was accompanied by a cubular disco ball, the band left the stage and audience wanting more. As mentioned, they returned the following night for yet another sold-out show, before concluding their tour in the Pacific Northwest. The success of this year’s album and tour prove that the Arctic Monkeys haven’t lost their touch, even despite their five-year hiatus and slight change of sound.
Though Turner sings about playing “to quiet rooms like this before,” San Francisco was anything but quiet.