Revisit Arctic Monkeys’ very first live performance in Sheffield back in 2003

In the summer of 2003, a small Sheffield band played their first ever live show. In just a few short years they would be wowing the mammoth crowds of Glastonbury Festival and lauded as the next great hope of rock and roll. That band were, of course, the Arctic Monkeys.

We’re dipping back into the Far Out Magazine vault to bring you the moment the band stepped out on stage as the Arctic Monkeys for the very first time. Beginning with those first stumbling steps, a fantastic live career that has seen them wow millions of people across the world.

In 2003, at a time when indie music had made its way into the limelight with the likes of The Strokes, The Hives and The Libertines curating indie classics, Arctic Monkeys began their DIY efforts to shoehorn themselves into the discussion. Although a huge influx of ‘one-hit wonders’ would litter the radio, (ahem Hot Hot Heat, Pigeon Detectives, 22-20s etc.) it can be said that Arctic Monkeys were the one band who stuck to their own ideas and never wavered. It would see them become one of the most important British bands of this century.

Alex Turner and the band have come a long way since their Sheffield beginnings, with six albums, each one taking on a different sound whilst keeping a certain Arctic Monkeys element running throughout, they’ve topped the charts from their very first outing. They are a band that refuses to abide by the industry norm, moving to the next sound before anyone else has a chance to catch up.

Before the heady days of ‘Fake Tales of San Francisco’ and the huge back catalogue of classics that Arctic Monkeys can shoot off the hip every time they head back on tour—there were the early days. We’ve unearthed an audio recording of the band’s first live performance which was held at ‘The Grapes’ in Sheffield, a show which displays a young Arctic Monkeys finding their sound.

Although Turner hasn’t worked the synonymous Yorkshire slang or acquired an accent into his repertoire yet, what the young frontman does show with these songs are the themes of which made this band so unique at the time.

Lyrics such as: “I can’t see you through the smoke because the cloud’s so thick” and “there’s a fire as you’re dancing to the disco sound” from the track ‘Ravey Ravey Ravey Club’ shows early signs of the colloquial imagery of nights out and failed love attempts that would litter their debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. The album would win the Mercury Music Prize and set the band up as the heirs to the realm of rock and roll.

The songs featured on this recording are not the whole set, two and a half songs are captured which includes the aforementioned ‘Ravey Ravey Ravey Club’, followed by ‘Curtains Closed’ and the clip is closed with a small section of a rare cover of Fatboy Slim hit ‘The Rockafeller Skank’. It’s a performance that typifies a band with an insatiable thirst and an unbeatable determination to succeed.

Check out the Arctic Monkey’s first live performance from 2003 below.

Arctic Monkeys Setlist:

00:00 – ‘Ravey Ravey Ravey Club’
02:20 – ‘Curtains Closed’
04:07 – ‘The Rockafeller Skank’ (Fatboy Slim cover)

Source: Radio X

Subscribe to our newsletter
Delivering curated content