The Arctic Monkeys are a band that many of us have seen grow up from slightly-awkward adolescents to bonafide rock stars. If you were looking for a single moment that Alex Turner, Jamie Cook, Matt Helders and Nick O’Malley made that transition, this is it. The moment the Arctic Monkeys headlined Glastonbury Festival in 2007.
Just four short years from the band’s very first gig, the Arctic Monkeys had transcended from the spotty kids who were burning CDs to give away for free at shows to the act that 100,000 people would get covered in mud, beer and God knows what else just to catch a glimpse of – to be able to say “we were there”. Looking back, it was a smart decision.
Following the band’s meteoric rise across the early dawn of file sharing fans, the group were quickly picked up by music television channels like MTV2 and championed for their idiosyncratic tunes, built upon the razor-sharp lyrics of Turner and the driving sound of the band. By 2006, the band had released their debut record to critical acclaim and almost instantaneous success, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not launched the band into the height of fame.
Not only was the band gathering a huge swell of fans on the streets but they were getting the recognition of the industry too. The album’s songs depicting a weekend in the desperate towns of Britain were not only indie dancefloor fillers but also drenched with commentary and bursting with energy. It earned them a Mercury Music Prize and the all hallowed headline slot at the iconic Glastonbury Festival.
The legendary festival’s headline slot had previously been held by acts such as David Bowie, The Cure, The Smiths, Van Morrison, Oasis, Radiohead, and about 100 more. For four young lads from Sheffield to step onto the Pyramid stage and deliver a set of bangers for a ravenous and raucous 100,000 people-strong crowd was a big ask.
They would not disappoint.
Armed with the hits of the band’s epic debut and now with their newly released (also reaching number 1) sophomore record Favourite Worst Nightmare they stepped onto the stage to be faced with the daunting task of entertaining both the crowd in front of them and the millions at home. This is the moment that Arctic Monkeys become bonafide rock stars.
After making their way on stage following a brief intro, Alex approaches the mic and says “Hello everybody”, what comes back is a recognition of their journey, a resounding reply would leave Turner and co. smirking at their lives. A tongue is even placed in Turner’s cheek as a precursor to the next hour and twenty minutes – it is stupidly good.
The band launch into their hit ‘When The Sun Goes Down’, after singing the first few lines Turner decides to let his newly found muddy choir take over the vocals. As the verse ends, the band smile at each other realising what is about to go down. They crash down the next chord of the song as the rock stars we know today.
It’s a set littered with the hits of band’s first two records and the odd b-side here and there. It’s a set that must’ve astounded the young men performing it. It’s a set that would probably change your life. It’s a set that would make you write a record about a resort on the moon.
It’s the beginning of the Arctic Monkeys as rock and roll legends.