Arctic Monkeys | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen
Arctic Monkeys performing during the The Car Tour at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas on September 15, 2023, with Alex Turner, Jamie Cook, Matt Helders, and Nick O'Malley. (Photo: Ralph Arvesen)

Arctic Monkeys is an indie rock band formed in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England in 2002 after meeting at Stocksbridge High School. The band consists of Alex Turner (vocals, guitar, piano), Jamie Cook (guitar), Nick O'Malley (backing vocals, bass) and Matt Helders (drums, vocals). Founding bassist Andy Nicholson left in 2006.

The band has released seven studio albums: Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (2006), Favourite Worst Nightmare (2007), Humbug (2009), Suck It and See (2011), AM (2013), Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino (2018) and The Car (2022) (the first six of which debuted at #1 on the UK Albums Chart.

Each of the band's first five singles "I Bet You Look Good On the Dancefloor", "When the Sun Goes Down", "Leave Before The Lights Come On", "Brianstorm" and "Fluorescent Adolescent" hit the UK Top Five, but their sixth single, "Teddy Picker", only went Top 20 and their seventh single, "Crying Lightning" peaked at #12.

The band's rise to success started in late 2004/early 2005 when demo songs that had been handed out in CD form at gigs found their way onto the internet. These demos rapidly spread among message boards and friends leading to a growing fan base for the band, and were collected on the unofficial Beneath the Boardwalk, which the band recognizes on their website. The band owe much of their success to viral buzz via the Internet, and have eschewed typical 'commercial' channels, including refusing to appear on the UK's (now discontinued) Top Of The Pops music program, which was often seen as a gateway to success.

The band's debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, held the record for the largest first week sales of a debut album in the UK (in its first week, it sold more than the rest of the Top 20 albums combined). The album sold over 360,000 copies in its first week, but lost the title in November 2007 to Leona Lewis's album Spirit.

On 19th June 2006 the band officially announced that founding member and bassist Andy Nicholson had left the band after missing the American leg of their tour due to 'fatigue' and the other band members couldn't stand the constant 'missing his girlfriend syndrome' so they told him to sling his hook. Former Dodgems bassist Nick O'Malley was initially brought in as a stand-in, and played the band's remaining summer commitments. He was then announced as Nicholson's permanent replacement.

The single "Leave Before The Lights Come On" came out on August 14th, but only reached Number 4 on the UK charts, denying the band a third consecutive number 1 single. Their debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not won the 2006 Mercury Prize, was chosen as the best album of year 2006 by Q Magazine, and received a slew of other accolades.

Their second album Favourite Worst Nightmare was released on April 23rd 2007. It was preceded by "Brianstorm", the first single from the album, which was released a week before. Like its predecessor, "Favourite Worst Nightmare" sold more than the rest of the Top 20 combined, and - due to an error on iTunes - every song on the record appeared on the UK Top 200 Singles the next week.

When asked about Favourite Worst Nightmare Turner commented, "We haven't changed that much. It's still about making contact with girls or not making contact with girls".

The band began to write and record demos for the third album in January 2008, Turner said "We had tunes that we'd already been playing on tour so we recorded them. That’s six . We’re going to take it easy and start practicing over the summer and doing new stuff."

The band premiered new material from the unreleased album during their January 2009 tour of New Zealand, playing small venues in Wellington and Auckland ahead of the Big Day Out festival. Their first show in more than a year was on January 13, 2009 at Wellington's Town Hall. In both cities, the new songs played were "Crying Lightning", "Go-Kart", "Dangerous Animals" and "Pretty Visitors." The full setlist from the Auckland gig is available online. Also played was a cover of the Nick Cave song "Red Right Hand." During their last tour, the band had played new songs "Put Me In A Terror Pocket", "Sandtrap," and "The Fire and The Thud" live.

They released their seventh studio album, The Car, on October 21st, 2022, preceded by the singles "There'd Better Be a Mirrorball", "Body Paint" and "I Ain't Quite Where I Think I Am".
Fan reviews:

Arctic Monkeys were electrifying! The energy in the venue was electric. We sang along to every song , danced, screamed and cheered to every moment they were on stage! The setlist did not disappoint, absolutely adored the stage with the extra camera to bring them all a little bit closer to us! We loved it!

One of my favorite concerts! Awesome concert. Played mostly the hits. I knew most of the songs. Band was amazing. Perfect.

Best time of my life! It was amazing you just had to be there. They played a lot of their greatest hits and song from some of their recent albums.

I remember when I first discovered them I literally fell in love with every song. I would listen to them while I was working or drawing and I was like I just have to see them perform live. So very grateful that I got the opportunity to see them perform, so much excitement and nostalgia.

Wouldn't trade that night for the world. Watching the lads play has been a dream of mine. I was close enough to watch facial expressions of all four. Alex changed my life with his spirit and Matt had talent and grace to the moon and back. Pure love.

I wanna go back everyone was such a vibe and the band was amazing I loved seeing them in real life I could not stop smiling. My voice is gone.
Setlist for the show at the Moody Center
  • Do I Wanna Know?
  • Brianstorm
  • Snap Out of It
  • Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair
  • Teddy Picker
  • Crying Lightning
  • Fireside
  • Star Treatment
  • Arabella
  • Sculptures of Anything Goes
  • Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?
  • The View From the Afternoon
  • Knee Socks
  • Pretty Visitors
  • Fluorescent Adolescent
  • There'd Better Be a Mirrorball
  • 505
  • Body Paint
  • One Point Perspective
  • I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
  • R U Mine?

Arctic Monkeys was the main act at the Moody Center with guests Fontaines D.C.. They continue across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe with the last stop at the 3Arena in Dublin, Republic of Ireland on October 19, 2023.

Arctic Monkeys
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Photos by Ralph Arvesen
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