Reviews of shows I've been to (and maybe you have too!)

Arctic Monkeys @ Rams Head Live (10/15/11)

I was introduced to the Arctic Monkeys back in 2006 by my music-savvy friend Djordje. One of the few recent bands that I have gotten into, their debut “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not” is one of my favorite driving albums. For whatever reason, I have yet to follow up by purchasing subsequent albums. Nonetheless, my shallow album collection has not dampened my enthusiasm for seeing (or attempting to see) the Arctic Monkeys live. My first try, in 2008, was shot down by a less-than-enthusiastic friend, while my more recent attempt fell victim to that modern curse, the online ticket sell-out. Finally getting my chance to see them play, this time at Rams Head Live in Baltimore, was therefore a mix of relief and excitement.

Similar to the Starland Ballroom, Rams Head Live has bars at every turn within the venue. Unfortunately, the acoustics in Rams Head are less than ideal, especially if you are not standing in the main audience area. Thus, the entire show had a tinny ring that made distinguishing any chord changes difficult. Our position near the back stairs, though it afforded a decent view of the stage, also sapped any energy that the band was generating. Moreover, with only one album’s worth of familiarity, it’s fair to say that I was not completely engaged throughout the evening. However, the rest of crowd did seem to know most songs and gave enthusiastic responses to each opening lick. The most popular songs did seem to be the ones from their debut album (or maybe I just took notice since these were the only songs I was singing along to). The highlight of the night was the main set closer, “When the Sun Goes Down.” The thumping buildup, high-energy rave-through and hushed ending were the perfect ingredients to end the evening on a high note. The group returned for a brief encore of songs I didn’t know, and left just as quickly.

After five years of anticipation, the barely 90 minute show, despite a decently full setlist, left me satisfied, but definitely wanting more. Kind of like a good rock show is supposed to.

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Set List:

  1. Pretty Visitors
  2. Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair
  3. She’s Thunderstorms
  4. Fluorescent Adolescent
  5. The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala
  6. Brianstorm
  7. The View From the Afternoon
  8. I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
  9. This House Is a Circus
  10. Still Take You Home
  11. Evil Twin
  12. Brick by Brick
  13. That’s Where You’re Wrong
  14. Do Me a Favour
  15. Suck It and See
  16. When the Sun Goes Down

Encore:

  1. Teddy Picker
  2. Crying Lightning
  3. 505
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