Published Aug 04, 2014Arctic Monkeys have been consistently present in music culture since their beginning, churning out five records in the past eight years. Their newly reinvigorated popularity made them a solid choice to close out the ninth instalment of Osheaga.
Their fifth LP, AM, found the band focusing, and it showed: half of the 90-minute set was devoted to the new material. Longtime fans weren't left unrewarded, however; hits from their earlier records like "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" and "Brianstorm" were a reminder of the band's older, brasher style. The band has definitely cleaned up their sound with their new record, featuring dramatic choruses and gritty guitar tone to go along with their leather jacket and pompadour-sporting image, but despite looking rough-'n'-tough, their onstage demeanour was courteous and devoid of antics. Throughout the set, there was minimal banter and no theatrics, save for a dynamic light show befitting a massive festival closer.
The band's new tunes feature tight bass grooves with sharp, hooky guitar lines and thumping drumbeats that evoke a classic rock sound. Songs like "Fireside" and "Snap Out Of It" featured some light doo-wop reference, while the slow-burning "No. 1 Party Anthem" was a nice, calm reprieve. The band sounded remarkably similar to their studio records, even with their vastly different older material.
Their main set ended with career highlight "505," from their sophomore record Favourite Worst Nightmare, and the amped-up second half sent the crowd into a strobe light-assisted frenzy. Turner's lilting, accented vocals were on point, and the band's tight instrumentation made the abrupt mid-song propulsive lurch perfect.
The three-song encore featured a trio of AM cuts: closer "R U Mine?" recalled the bruising rock of their older material, but with a more mature swagger and cleaner sound. The song was a great way to end the festive weekend, with the crowd dancing and singing along, sending home this year's crop of Osheaga-goers with one last great sonic memory.
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