The first thing that stood out about the Tuesday, June 24th Arctic Monkeys show at The Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park in Indianapolis was the age of the crowd. Seemingly, most in attendance were high school students or college underclassmen. For those who have been tracking the group’s career, it was an odd sight for a band that has been making waves over the course of each of their first five albums. However, while Arctic Monkeys may have been racking up number one singles and setting sales records in the UK nine years ago, their first single to crack the top 70 in the US was last year’s “Do I Wanna Know?”, so the demographics follow.
Opening was White Denim. The looseness of their studio output always suggested that they would be a fun live act, which they were. They actually get a lot looser in person, even downright jammy at times, so much so that they seemed a curious opening act for Arctic Monkeys. Indeed, when Arctic Monkeys came out, this contrast stood out even more.
Arctic Monkeys started right out with the aforementioned “Do I Wanna Know?”, their biggest U.S. hit to date. It was immediately clear that they have developed into a perfectly tight, big professional rock band. Towering, surprisingly clean sound poured out while Alex Turner preened around the stage, taking the job of inciting shrieks from the young women in the audience very seriously. Arctic Monkeys weren’t too serious, though. At one point, they had some fun with the similarity between their “Arabella” and Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” by throwing in the actual bridge from “War Pigs”.
Arctic Monkeys played all the requisite hits. The young crowd emphatically cheered at recognizing each one, all the way back to “I Bet You Look Good On the Dancefloor”. A lighting display in the shape of the distinctive waveform from the cover of AM hovered behind the stage. A variety of patterns and effects were produced with it, getting more impressive as the show went on and the sun went down. The encore began around the time that night fully took hold. “R U Mine?” ended the evening, with an unexpected disco-ball-like swirling projection filling the stage.
As is often the case with municipal venues, the show started early, and it was barely fully dark when it was over. Much of the band’s songs are either explicitly or implicitly about nightlife. This early show was a great way to kick off the night. The energy given out was a better jumpstart to a long night than it would be a cap to one, and undoubtedly the young crowd took advantage of this.