Arctic Monkeys Downtown Stage, Las Vegas NV, October 26

Arctic Monkeys Downtown Stage, Las Vegas NV, October 26
Photo: Film Magic
Ten years ago it was hard to imagine Arctic Monkeys breaking in America. So British was their worldview and the wave of hype behind them, the quartet seemed destined for cult status on this side of the pond.

Now one of the biggest rock bands around, singer-guitarist Alex Turner has stepped up as frontman on stage. Dressed like a teddy boy with his hair slicked back, he led the band through tracks old and new to the enthusiastic crowd, even as his laconic demeanour left many wondering just how interested he was in being there in the first place.

Still, Arctic Monkeys keep it loose on stage, playing without backing tracks, a rarity these days. It gives their performance an edge that trumps any technical errors.

"I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor" remains a set highlight, but it's clear that the band's frenetic early material is increasingly out of step with the slower, more groove-based work of their last three albums. At times the pacing of those songs caused the set to drag, but there's no denying it's Turner's sharp songwriting that's continues to carry the group forward.