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The first band Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner saw live

@josephtaysom

Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner was a child of the garage-rock boom of the early 2000s. This enchanting period of music inspired him to pick up a guitar as a teenager and form a band that eventually picked up the baton from where his heroes left off.

Nobody ever forgets the first time they see live music, and for Turner, that night had a transformative effect on his life. Interestingly, the singer had never grown up with an obsession with rock music, and during his early formative years, it was hip-hop that appealed to him most. 

“At the end of the ’90s, every band in our neighbourhood was 35 or older, so we just listened to Roots Manuva and Dr Dre. Lately, it feels similar. There aren’t that many bands I’m that excited about at the moment,” he told Pitchfork in 2013.

Subconsciously, Turner’s love of rap has undoubtedly seeped into his distinct style of lyricism, but as he got older, his tastes developed into new territory. The musical landscape changed in a flash at the turn of the century with the arrival of The Strokes. Suddenly, rock music became exciting again, and after years on the sidelines, guitars were back in vogue.

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Turner later reminisced about the revelatory effect the group had on his life, adding: “The arrival of The Strokes changed what music I was listening to, what shoes I was wearing. I grew my hair out and borrowed my mum’s blazer. I was a huge fan.”

Following the success of The Strokes, more bands came out of the woodwork. Turner’s first taste of live music came when The Vines played the Manchester Academy in 2002. Around this time, he’d formed Arctic Monkeys, but they were firmly in their infancy and nothing more than an after-school hobby. They wouldn’t even play their first concert until mid-2003, and seeing The Vines influenced Turner immensely.

“‘I thought, ‘That’s what being a singer is all about,'” ‘Turner told The Guardian in 2006 about the show. “When we play, I’ll do what Craig Nicholls does, be all spaced out.'”

Only four years after attending his first concert, Arctic Monkeys were comfortably the most exciting band in the country. His positive comments eventually found their way back to a humbled Nicholls. “It feels really good, yeah,” he told The Beat. “Really amazing. For me, Arctic Monkeys are one of the most important bands to happen in the last five years. They’re doing such great things, and to think that we’ve had some kind of influence on them is just really cool.”

Sonically, The Vines and Arctic Monkeys don’t share much in common, but seeing Nicholls parade on-stage taught Turner a valuable lesson in how a frontman should operate. It’s impossible to diminish the profound effect that night had on Turner, and the influence it held on him as a 15-year-old.