Sometimes, I want to be Arctic Monkeys front man, Alex Turner. Not meet. Not be like, no. I want to be Alex Turner. It’s an odd desire considering I’m a 22-year-old girl with not much music ability of my own. But Alex Turner — he can sing, play the guitar, rock a pompadour, and wear all black every day without it coming across weird. And he does it as if it takes no effort at all. If only I could do the same. I’ve admired him for years, and on February 12th, at the Fillmore in Detroit, I finally had a chance to see Arctic Monkeys live for the first time.
I hadn’t heard of the night’s openers, Saint Motel, until they took the stage — I didn’t even know who was opening the show until I looked at the marquee in front of The Fillmore. They were underrated from the start. With two guitars, a bass, drums, trumpet, saxophone, and keyboard, Saint Motel hyped up the audience with their ska-infused indie rock. The stage was filled with instruments and band members jumping around and dancing to the beat and making the crowd dance around with them. Their guitar riffs were hilariously cliché, and the lead singer’s feet shuffled perfectly to the music, all while the crowd clapped along to every song.
Then it was Arctic Monkeys turn. The group took the stage and kicked off their set with “Do I Wanna Know,” a top-seller off their newest album, AM. The crowd, already pumped thanks to the great openers and the long anticipation of a 6:30 p.m. doors open, went crazy. From the front row of the balcony, I could see people in the general admission pit pushing, dancing, crowd surfing, and jumping up and down with their hands in the air. I could feel the balcony shake from the amount of jumping happening in the upper levels. Is an entire balcony supposed to shake? Probably not. But that’s what made it worth every minute.
I went to the show with a friend who, like Arctic Monkeys, is from Yorkshire, England. He shouted from our row, “Yorkshire! Yorkshire!” hoping that the band, specifically Alex Turner would hear him. But the lead vocalist was too busy dancing with the mic, riffing on his guitar, and wishing people in the audience happy birthdays. During one song, Turner turned his back to the audience, sitting on a speaker at the edge of the stage, and sang directly to the bassist, Nick O’Malley. Unconventional, yes. But also wonderfully appropriate for the song. And then Turner was back, jumping around the stage and engaging the audience for the next song, “I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor.”
Arctic Monkeys ended the show with “R U Mine,” which was fitting, because by that point they had the audience in the palm of their hands. The band could have ended anything and the audience would have been happy, but “R U Mine” solidified the fact that yes, we were all theirs. This was the fourth show I’ve been to in a month. I tend to spend all of my money on coffee and concert tickets, and shows like this one make the cost worth it. The Arctic Monkeys and Saint Motel put on an unbelievable, energetic show, and the audience was one of the most excited I’ve seen in a while. All I can hope is that I can see them again and that they’re just as great a second time. And that someday, somehow, I can be Alex Turner.
Written by Kelly McLaughlin