Review: Arctic Monkeys rock Jannus Live, St. Petersburg

A look back at the Sat., Feb. 1 show; with photos.

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click to enlarge Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner pauses for a quick spruce up. -
Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner pauses for a quick spruce up.

click to enlarge Alex Turner, Arctic Monkeys -
Alex Turner, Arctic Monkeys

Kicking off your show with a song that asks a question could prove problematic, especially if the answer isn’t one you want to hear. Like, what if, after Arctic Monkeys performed set opener “Do I Wanna Know?” this past Saturday night, the fans had a change of heart and decided that no, actually, the feeling does not flow both ways, and started trickling out until the band, sad to see them go, sorta hoping they’d stay, was playing to an empty venue. [Words by Leilani, photos by Drunkcameraguy]

In reality, the all-ages crowd that packed Jannus Live to the sold-out brim was on board as soon as the first note off the dark and slinky Billboard charter was struck, and they all stuck around to see the 20-song show to its spirited finish.

All but drummer Matt Helders had taken the time to get gussied up for the occasion, and they looked like a group of proper British greasers — guitarist Jamie Cook sported a dark suit and tie, bassist Nick O'Malley wore a black long-sleeved Western-style dress shirt with red and white piping, and frontman Alex Turner oozed sex appeal in a chic black silver-threaded button-down and grey hounds-tooth sports jacket he shucked seven songs deep into the show.

Joined by aux player Thomas Rowley, the post-punk/garage/psych quartet managed to please fans who’d been following them since 2006’s Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not while satiating the newer post-AM sect, no small feat considering they have five album’s worth of material, ripped through songs spanning all of them, and managed to hold the crowd's attention despite not sticking to their most commercially successful fare. They rocked, they rolled, and proved occasionally flashy showmen, Helders hammering his kit while standing on his stool or O’Malley posing like Eddie Van Halen with his bass held straight in front of him as he thumped low-end solos. Turner oozed confidence with his sexy rasping vocals and way of playing his guitar with a hip-cocking sway, sometimes throwing in a Billy Idol sneer, and at one point, even pulling out a comb and running it through his slicked back hair.

click to enlarge Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner pauses for a quick spruce up. -
Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner pauses for a quick spruce up.

Among the night’s setlist highlights: high-powered, fast-tempo scorcher “Brainstorm,” strutting New Wave-shaded “Knee Socks,” snotty hooky grooving “Why’d You Only Call Me When Your High?”, crunchy Sabbath-riffing “Arabella” (with an actual nod to “War Pigs” in its middle), deliberate swaying “I Wanna Be Yours” (which spurred a couples slow dance and make-out sessions in numerous spots around the venue), and twangy urgent and yearning set closer “505,” a particular crowd-pleaser that kept the arms waving and fans howling until the band returned to the stage for a three-song encore.

Arctic Monkeys brought the show to a spirited finish with AM’s “R U Mine?” and I could almost hear the resounding unspoken answer uttered by every person who left the show that night feeling like they’d gotten their full money’s worth. (“Yes.”)

Chicago-area outfit The Orwells opened with grungy, retro-hued, punk/garage-imbued alt rock as led by vocalist Mario Cuomo, who thrashed his bleached hair and dance-jerked around the stage throughout the set. The overall sonic vibe was reminiscent of a less-developed Kings of Leon but the five-piece showed promise whenever they amped up the pace to a gallop and beat the hell out of their instruments.

Do I Wanna Know?
Dancing Shoes
Evil Twin
Snap Out of It
Crying Lightning
Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair
Knee Socks
Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?
Pretty Visitors
I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
Do Me a Favour
I Wanna Be Yours
Fluorescent Adolescent

One for the Road
R U Mine?

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