Arctic Monkeys perform at the Don Valley Bowl, 2011
I feel like this is the only place on the whole wide tinterweb where I can share my story and actually feel good about doing so.
Anyway, the first time I saw the four most beautiful boys in the world was in 2009 in Birmingham, a couple months after Humbug had been released. I must of been 14 or 15, can’t be bothered to work it out. Anyway, I was watching a band I was completely obsessed with and, quite frankly, they were wank. Didn’t seem like they wanted to be there at all and had absolutely no intention of doing anything but playing their songs and leaving, no hint of emotion whatsoever. This really broke my heart (I know, firstworldproblems and all that) and I struggled to find the love that was once there for the band that had really turned my world upside down. They weren’t just a band, they were my band. As the next couple of years passed, I still listened to them every day, fell in and out of love with Humbug constantly, admired Whatever.. and never ever lost touch with FWN. I still, however, never recovered from the heartbreak of seeing them so bored and static on stage. Then came brick by brick. At first, as with everyone, I convinced myself that this wasn’t them, they were joking of course. Then i started to love it, completely love it, to the point of playing it over 50 times a day and I thought that maybe, my love would again return. I recorded the radio first play of Don’t sit Down on Zane Lowe’s show and was completely over the moon. They’d moved on from Humbug and they were back. Weeks passed, Suck it and See was announced and, in turn, so was Don Valley. And fuck, if Don Valley wasn’t the best night of my life then I don’t know what was. I lost my shoes, gained another pair and lost another, all before The Vaccines had came on stage. I felt like I was at home, the atmosphere of thousands of other monkeys fans, all in euphoria, waiting for them to come on stage. I was a bit nervous though, I have to admit. Would we have a repeat of Birmingham? Thankfully, no. No we would not. The first hard hitting power chords of The View From The Afternoon crashed out of Alex and Jamie’s guitars and I knew then, that I had reached the best day of my adolescent life. The whole place erupted in to a violent but nevertheless fun loving orgy of sweaty bodies and happiness. I was at home. These were my people. We were all brothers and sisters for the night. No aggro, no hate, just love for, in mine and I’m sure so many other people on this blog’s opinion, the best band there is, was and ever will be.
The last chord rang of a certain romance and the night was over, I left, along with a pair of Nike high tops (in exchange for some knackered converse, incidently) a head of hair full of piss, booze and sweat and 15 of my friends who I hadn’t seen for well over 5 hours after first entering the bowl.
I’ve seen them twice since, at V festival, where I understood why they didn’t feel it when a pissed up 24 year old skinhead started screaming “PLAY THE ONE ABOUT A DANCEFLOOR YOU TWAT” during a lovely rendition of black treacle. This wasn’t their stomping ground, the monkeys had entered the wrong den, and were getting abused for it. Of course, I stayed until the end, to see them off properly along with about 40 (seriously, about this many) true monkeys fans in the area, the rest just coming for the weekend to see Eminem.
This brings me to my final paragraph. the LG Arena in Birmingham, the end of last year. Alex Turner powerslided. ALEX TURNER! POWERSLIDED! I couldn’t believe my eyes, he was running about the stage! A complete turn around of the Alex I saw two years ago, with extremely long hair, a trench coat and a moody attitude and looks to kill. I would say this was the second best night of my life.
There you have it, my life with Arctic Monkeys. I love this band, I love this blog (which I check multiple times a day, for any news on album number five or, hopefully, what Helders mum has had for tea!) and I love every last bit of this band, covering my whole bedroom with pictures of them and purchasing a painful amount of memorabilia, including a suck it and see zippo, which I am shit scared to use!
Thankyou, Jan. Thankyou for hosting such a beautiful and loving community for the best fans in the world.
YORKSHIRE, YORKSHIRE, YORKSHIRE!
No, thank you - for this, for reminding me why I do this, why I love this band. This is too good. :)
With everyone sharing their stories in regards to the release of Suck It And See, I wanted to chime in as well. Mine isn’t about the release of the album however, because let’s face it: There is no such thing as a releasedate anymore. Kids saving their weekly allowance and lining up in front of a recordstore to buy the long-awaited album they’ve only read snippets about in the NME is a romanticised image from a few decades ago. Surely there are people decent enough to actually wait, but somehow the fact that others have listened to the album weeks before you and discussed every fragment of it on online boards, makes it a bit less special.
I’d like to talk about something else that happened that week. Something, oh blasphemy, that is far more special than the release of an album. Their hometown gigs. Everyone reading this will know straight away what I am talking about, and even if you weren’t there, the dates (10th and 11th June) will flash through your head. Which says it all, really. I’ve got Suck It And See lying here right in front of me in several formats (Arctic Monkeys collectors have a tendency to be slightly obsessive) and I can listen to it at all times. Of course there are certain songs or hell, even short fragments that take me back to a certain place or person. And surely, I admit, there is something special about the first listen. But there still is something special about listening to it right now, or listening to it tomorrow. Which says of course a lot about the quality of this record, but also that an album is sort of a long enduring process that never ends.
A concert is a completely different world: It’s a slowly anticipating build-up to an ultimate climax and an inevitable downfall after that. Luckily the Arctic Monkeys realise their fans are slightly obsessive (I much prefer the term dedicated, by the way) and arranged two climaxes for us, changing one great evening into an epic weekend. The months before, the fans had been discussing the setlist, the atmosphere, the venue, you name it. And whereas there is some excitement in that, the real excitement came for me when I saw the photo of the venue, a great looking tent in a field. Words can’t describe how ecstatic I was upon seeing that (but yet here I am, trying. How silly of me). In a very similar yet opposite way I was completely devastated when on the day after, I saw a photo of the tent being broken down. I obviously knew the weekend was over, but seeing it so visually like that was something I didn’t quite longed for. I still don’t.
Read on through, my friends…
When I first read this, I thought… hey, this sounds familiar. And then I realized he was talking about our shared experience; he was talking about our little circle. To me, AVL will always be remembered as the guy (or the boss?) who ditched his maths exam, traveled from mainland Europe to this hilly town north of England, had the time of his life, and the person I’ll always remember when Miles Kane’s Come Closer comes on the radio.
And the reminiscing continues with this bootleg…
Arctic Monkeys : Don Valley Bowl : Show #1 - Sheffield England : 10 June 2011
A Certain Romance, live at Don Valley Bowl (Sheffield - June 2011)
Let’s reminisce, shall we? This time last year, the boys treated 10,000 people from the city they grew up in (and from cities beyond) to a wonderful—probably the best—weekend any fan could ask for. It was quite special because they brought out the big guns by playing a new version of Mardy Bum and ending both night’s sets with this Arctic Monkeys classic.
Watch and weep, all of you who were there and miss it immensely and also, all of you who weren’t there but wish they were. Thank you to the ever spectacular MrSecretDoor for this footage, of course.
Other videos you are required to watch to properly reminisce— Focus Creeps’ 10-minute Don Valley Bowl film and AMUS’ Mixtape Memories, Don Valley - The Fan Experience.
Arctic Monkeys, Matt and Nick, talking in Edgefest 2012 They talk about the supposed Don Valley DVD, sorry guys but they were just rumours.
Arctic Monkeys fans
My favorite parts of the homecoming video… in gifs. Julia is a hero.
Mardy Bum - Arctic Monkeys
Live at Don Valley Bowl, Sheffield (June 2011)
The best thing about this song being played live is that whatever version it is, you’re guaranteed that the crowd will always, always sing-along to every word like it’s an anthem.
In case you missed it, the Don Valley video has been released.
too much love for this
Favorite part of the homecoming video? Mine would probably be seeing the look on all the fans’ faces, everyone having the time of their lives.
Matthew Elmer Helders, III - Don Valley gif
“Fucking hell, you’re a serial killer”
It’s here! Arctic Monkeys “Sheffield Homecoming” video
Take me back, is all I can really say for now. Excuse me while I cry.