Arctic Monkeys headlined a sold-out show at Artpark in Lewiston on Wednesday, and the predominantly young – teen to twentysomething – audience ate up the band’s aloof but impressive presentation, much of which concentrated on material from the 2013 hit album “AM.”
It was strong show, and though it never reached the level of an epiphany, a number of things were revealed to me throughout the gig.
1) White Denim is the new black.
Psychedelic indie/jam/garage outfit White Denim opened the show with a raw, visceral stomp of a set, and man, these guys absolutely killed it. The crowd reaction was a bit tepid at first, but the Austin-based band eventually won the hearts of many with some fiery guitar-led jams and deliriously inventive arrangements. I’d love to see this band headline a show locally at some point in the future.
2) Silence is the new applause.
Early on, I noticed what I deemed to be a bit of a peculiar trait exhibited by the massive crowd. When a tune would begin, and they recognized it, a mighty roar would erupt. Throughout the song in question, the crowd would be into it, moving in tandem, arms aloft and feet stomping. Then the tune would end, and there would be a relative silence in the spot one would think would normally be reserved for rapturous applause. I initially thought this was an anomaly, but the same scenario unfolded throughout the show. Weird. Not a deal-breaker, by any means. But weird.
3) Alex Turner is not the new Bowie.
No, those shoes are too big to fill, despite the God-like status Turner and the Arctic Monkeys have achieved in the UK, and are beginning to achieve on this side of the pond. Turner does do his own sort of retro-glam-cowboy-rockabilly chic thing, though, and even if he is unsmiling, aloof, and way too cool for school, his was a commanding presence on the Artpark outdoor amphitheater stage.
4) Garage rock is the new garage rock.
The rage in present-day alternative music is a 1980s, synth-based retro-chic. But Arctic Monkeys threw down a wall of sound that screamed garage-rock fuzz and a mildly stoner rock-informed, sinister sturm und drang. Kinda like Jack White covering an Oasis song, or the Strokes doing a Queens of the Stone Age mash-up. Is a late ‘90s garage rock renaissance in the offing? Or did it ever really go away? Either way, it was very cool.
5) Dry ice looks awesome in the Lewiston Gorge.
A rather awesome neon-lit squiggly thing hung in the air above the Arctic Monkeys as they monkeyed about on stage, and when the roadies would start pumping billowing clouds of dry ice into the air from the wings of the Artpark stage, the effect was nothing short of jaw-dropping. Rock is dead, they say; Long live rock!