LIVE REVIEW: Arctic Monkeys in Council Bluffs, Iowa (7/30/14)

Arctc Monkeys Live 2014

Thump. Clap. Thump. Clap. Thump. Clap. Thump.

That’s the sound of rock ‘n’ roll infesting your brain. It swims from your ears through your heart and pulses through veins. It attacks you like a rabid animal and gives you the jitters like a chill down your spine. That’s the feeling you get when Arctic Monkeys walk on stage and burst into the sexual opening track of the set, “Do I Wanna Know?”

Frontman Alex Turner swaggers on stage to tumultuous applause and he sways and sifts through such a seductive opening riff, wielding his Fender Jaguar guitar. “It’s nice to see you all” he tells the nearly 3,000 onlookers as the band rolls through to the second song of the set, “Snap Out Of It.” Filled with a mixture of Monkeys’ hits new and old, the set did not disappoint.

Performing 20 songs in a little over 90 minutes, the pace of the show was extravagant. The band’s best numbers were flung at the crowd one after another and with each number came roars of approval as hands flung in the air to dance with no care in the world.

Turner and guitarist Jamie Cook showed just how in-step they were with one another as Turner dropped the guitar and took on an Elvis Presley-esque demeanor for soothing rock track “Arabella.” Fresh off of the band’s international-charting record, AM, “Arabella,” was undoubtedly an early set crowd-pleaser. Even the most sedentary onlooker couldn’t help but move his or her hips as the track ebb and flowed through verses. Videos of the band doing a makeshift jam of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” in the bridge of “Arabella” have leaked online this year — but it did not come in this set. Cook led the band straight into the song’s solo, lighting the outdoor venue on fire.

One astounding aspect of the set was the band’s ability to shift through their discography seamlessly. “Brainstorm,” a fast, punk rock-influenced number came right after “Arabella,” and later in the set the band switched gears from “Knee Socks” to “My Propeller,” and “No. 1 Party Anthem” to “Crying Lighting.” It’s undeniable that Turner and co. can tear at your emotions during a set as they weave through the hooks at various tempos.

“We’re going to play a love song,” Turner tells the crowd as the acoustic guitars are broken out for “Fireside,” a number that transitioned pleasantly from the record to the live performance. Couples all around embraced and swayed while being serenaded by the uptempo, yet low-key number. The crowd came back to life when the band burst into “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” a few numbers later, sending momentum into the set closer, “505.”

Turner announces, “You’ve been an excellent crowd. This song’s called ‘505’ baby,” before playing the band’s most prolific ballad to date. The band wasn’t able to make their pre-encore exit before a fan slipped past security and snagged a quick selfie with the British singer. A light-hearted moment capping off a fun set.

The band soon returned and ran through an encore of “One for the Road,” “I Wanna Be Yours,” and “R U Mine?,” proving to be an energetic ending to a solid performance. The Monkeys showed fans new and old that the band has more energy than ever in its live show and it truly is a show not to miss.

Want to see if Arctic Monkeys are coming to a venue near you? Head to the band’s website to check out all upcoming international tour dates and be sure not to miss this show. It’s an energetic night that will not disappoint.

Review written by Matthew Leimkuehler (@callinghomematt)
*Photo courtesy of

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