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Arctic Monkey At Madison Square Garden, Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, Reviewed

If there was a worse way to see Alex Turner and his buddies from Arctic Monkeys, or, indeed, any rock band you don't really like, then opening at MSG, it would be opening at Giants Stadium. But MSG was still pretty rank, and Arctic Monkey's, talented lads from Sheffield who have problems with writing memorable songs, are way out of their depth as appetizers for the Black Keys?

Appetizers? An overlong hour song set was more than a taste but even from a distance the band had an excellent dynamic, seldom jamming, always at service to the songs, and with a pretty good leader in Turner, they had problems making an impression. Opening with middling material like "Library Pictures" from the new album mad the early track "The View From the Afternoon", they then took a head long tumble into a dreadful version of their great hit single "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor", performed at a breakneck pace, the highlight of the set didn't come close.

"Fluorescent Adolescent" was better, and late in the set "Evil Twin" and "Brick By Brick:" were first rate performances. Arctic Monkeys are a strange lot, they aren't about rhythm or melody or even a pretty good vocalist or even weirdly Blur-y/Kinks-y lyric, they are about tempo. They are a herky jerky, stop and twist, move and stretch, hard rock. It sounds great but the songs are not very good and it kills em.

They have a handful of really good songs and dozens of straight out dogs. The term filler was invented for them. And in the hollow hallowed hall, Arctic Monkeys disappeared into the air.

Grade: B-

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