The band divvied up the program rather neatly between older material and tunes from the upcoming "Humbug."
One didn’t have to be British to enjoy this one-off Stateside club show from what’s arguably the U.K.’s biggest new rock band of the last half-decade — but judging by the enthusiasm of a room largely populated by expats used to seeing the Arctic Monkeys in Jumbotron-festooned settings, sharing that lineage didn’t hurt.
From charmingly shaggy frontman Alex Turner’s broad Sheffield accent to the pop culture specifics that dot the quartet’s tunes, the evening was tailor-made to tickle the staunchest Anglophile — a category that apparently includes Sean “Diddy” Combs, whose dance floor presence became conspicuous midway through the set.
The band divvied up the program rather neatly between material from its earlier outings and the highly anticipated “Humbug,” which Domino will release Aug. 25. A six-pack of tunes from that disc proved to be the darkest and most angular of the evening, with an appropriately ominous cover of Nick Cave’s “Red Right Hand” standing out.
Turner himself seemed in the throes of a darker mood. Not that he was particularly glum — just a bit more fierce and less Muppet-like than on previous visits, notably on a careening version of “Brianstorm” and the new “Crying Lightning” (which is set for single release exclusively through Britain’s chain of 700 Oxfam charity shops).
The foursome’s popularity has been steadily growing on the Stateside front; 2007’s “Favourite Worst Nightmare” sold just shy of a quarter-million, roughly the amount the disc sold in its first week of release in the U.K. Buzz is considerable for “Humbug,” and the response to its tunes — particularly the mosh-inducing “Cornerstone” — gave positive indications that the whispers are on target.
Packing 17 songs into just over 75 minutes, few of which could be considered quiet interludes, the band didn’t offer much room for the audience to catch its collective breath, but then again, there seemed to be little demand for a breather.
The Arctic Monkeys will return to North America next month for a full tour set to stop at Hollywood’s Palladium on Sept. 15.