Arctic Monkeys - Bellahouston Park 25th June 2023

28 Jun 2023

Arctic Monkeys - Bellahouston Park 25th June 2023

A triumphant return for the Arctic Monkeys that set the city abuzz

Strolling into the electric atmosphere of Bellahouston Park on Sunday 25th June felt a bit like Glastonbury 2.0, as 35,000 Glaswegian music lovers swarmed the Dear Green Place to see the Arctic Monkeys step into the spotlight once again.

It had only been two days since Sheffield’s indie rock heroes headlined Glastonbury’s famed Pyramid Stage, where lead singer Alex Turner managed to shake off the acute laryngitis that resulted in a cancelled show in Dublin. Walking about the arena, it was clear the people of Glasgow were hungry for more, excited to experience first-hand the tour NME described as “a new golden age” for the band.

Arctic Monkeys at Bellahouston Park - Photo by Stewart Fullerton

The evening’s entertainment was kicked off in style by Liverpool’s alt-rockers The Mysterines. Clad in all black, their frontwoman Lia Metcalfe purred and growled her way through a 30-minute set that showcased the best of their debut album, Reeling. The rest of the band provide stellar accompaniment, with heavy yet soulful riffs and moody basslines setting the tone and elevating Metcalfe’s vocals to another level. The stand-out tune came in the form of the album’s namesake – Reeling – which wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the Arctic Monkey’s 2013 album ‘AM’, and consequently drew the biggest reaction from the crowd.

Up next was Sweden’s answer to The Stooges, the irrepressible garage punk-rockers The Hives. The five-piece explode onto the stage in their now infamous black and white zig-zag suits and launch into the lead single from their first new album in 11 years, Bogus Operandi. Lead singer, ‘Howlin’’ Pelle Almqvist is captivating as he struts around the stage, and boy, does he know how to work a crowd.

Arctic Monkeys at Bellahouston Park - Photo by Stewart Fullerton

Fan favourite Main Offender is followed by the classic Walk, Idiot Walk – two songs that perfectly encapsulates their signature sound and demonstrates how unrelentingly brilliant The Hives are live. Almqvist promises to deliver “110% rock n roll, 0% control” – a proclamation that the Glasgow crowd welcome with raucous cheers. In fact, the band ensured that there was never a quiet moment, with Howlin’ Pell insisting that “when The Hives stop making noise, you start” – a rule that the thousands in attendance were happy to follow.

Their best-known song, Hate To Say I Told You So, is met with a cacophony of approval, the rebellious lines “do what I want, ’cause I can” seemingly embodied by Almqvist and co., who by this point have converted more than a few of those who’d turned up just to see the main event. They close their set with a “pretend encore” – the explosive new single Countdown To Shutdown, which admittedly left me wondering how the boys from Sheffield were ever going to top this performance.

Arctic Monkeys at Bellahouston Park - Photo by Stewart Fullerton

I needn’t have worried though, as by the time the stage was set (and yes, there was, in fact, a mirrorball), the crowd was more than ready to soak up more banging tunes (and dreams of naughtiness).

The four-piece strode onto the stage just after 9pm to a deafening roar, with Turner sporting his now trademark jacket and shades combination. The show began at breakneck speed, the dynamite drumbeats and foreboding guitar riffs of Brianstorm providing a blistering opener that whipped the adoring fans into a frenzy. This was followed with the catchy hooks of Snap Out of It before Turner addressed his public for the first time.

“Glasgow, you’re a sight for sore eyes!”

This left me wondering if he’s made the same observations as me – looking around the crowd there’s a clear generational split – thirty-somethings fondly re-living their youth through the nostalgia of mid-noughties Arctic Monkeys hits, and the TikTok generation – Gen Zers who may have been introduced to the band through the social media platform when tunes such as 505 and Do I Wanna Know have gone viral.

Arctic Monkeys at Bellahouston Park - Photo by Stewart Fullerton

There’s no denying the band’s evolution over the years has seen them completely transformed from the scrappy young pretenders with their kitchen-sink lyrics and jagged guitar riffs into bonafide rockstars who look as though they were born to play gigs like these. It’s a testament to their longevity that they’ve remained on the ascendance for this long, and they’re showing no sign of slowing down just yet.
And no matter which camp you fall into, the Arctic Monkeys have made sure that there’s something for everyone in Glasgow tonight.

Old favourites such as Crying Lightning, Teddy Picker and the utterly infectious Fluorescent Adolescent (which contains some of my favourite observational lyrics) all feature, as do the glamourous, riff-laden and intimidating tracks Do I Wanna Know (arguably the sexiest song they’ve produced), Why’d you Only Call Me When You’re High and the incredible, Black Sabbath-esque Arabella.

Of course, Mr Turner couldn’t resist pulling out a couple of sultry ballads, with tracks such as Four Out Of Five and There’d Better Be A Mirrorball permitting him a chance to showcase the new dimension to the Arctic Monkeys. The band took their time with these songs, lulling from verse to chorus to verse, polished to perfection, and you can’t help but feel that despite the unbridled energy they deliver for the old classics, here is where they feel most at home.

Arctic Monkeys at Bellahouston Park - Photo by Stewart Fullerton

Following thunderous, singalong renditions of Mardy Bum and 505 amidst the setting sun, the four-piece bid farewell to their audience before returning once more for their encore. Fans were treated to the brooding and gothic-sounding Sculptures Of Anything Goes from their new album The Car, before getting hit with both barrels in the form of I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor and R U Mine.

All in all, a triumphant return for the Arctic Monkeys that set the city abuzz – same time next year, Alex?

Review by Fraser Doig, photography by Stewart Fullerton


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Review - Arctic Monkeys - Bellahouston Park 25th June 2023 - Glasgowmusic.co.uk