In the summer of 2003, a Sheffield band that would go on to dominate the indie scene with a meteoric rise seemingly from nowhere, Arctic Monkeys, played their first ever live show.
At a time when indie music had made its way into the limelight again with the likes of The Strokes, The Hives and The Libertines were 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, it can be said that Arctic Monkeys were the one band who stuck to their own ideas and never wavered.
Alex Turner and the band have come a long way since their Sheffield beginnings, with six albums spanning 13 years, each one taking on a different sound whilst keeping a certain Arctic Monkeys element running throughout. 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 siphon through every time they head back on tour, there are the early days. Dipping back into the Far Out Magazine archive, 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’ show early signs of the 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 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 closed with a small section of a rare cover of Fatboy Slim hit The Rockafeller Skank’.
Check out the performance 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