It’s been just shy of eight years since The Last Shadow Puppets’ chart-topping debut The Age of The Understatement, and the thronging crowds are understandably keen to see how the bromance of Alex Turner and Miles Kane has progressed since we last saw them in person.
It’s well worth remembering that when they recorded their debut, they were both in their early 20s, and though the Arctic Monkey’s had already taken over the UK with their first two LPs, they were nowhere near the international superstars of present. Miles Kane had scarcely impacted on the charts prior to getting together with Alex Turner, though his solo material has since put an end to that. Though they’ve both maintained that they use this project to kick back and relax, with second LP Everything That You’ve Come to Expect, released on April 1st, it remains to be seen whether their artistic development has impacted on the sound of their side-project.
Tonight, though, is pure bombast. Flanked by a string quartet, the duo bound into life with the intense orchestral cinema of debut single The Age of the Understatement. Coupled with the niggly riffs and sumptuous crooning of Aviation, in which both Turner and Kane melodise effortlessly between themselves and the crowd, it’s clear that we’re in for a show.
The band effortlessly weave from the stabbingly confrontational, as on Bad Habits, to the sultry psychedelia of Everything You’ve Come to Expect, wooing the crowd into mass euphoria in their wake. For a band obviously revelling in 60s pastiche, it was amusing to see the remarkably old-school sight of a bra being thrown to stage (though it does say something that there’s a roadie on hand to remove them).
As can be expected from a gig on the eve of a new album release, the lulls that greet new songs were present, if only minimal in their impact. A number of songs, including cynical love song Sweet Dreams, TN and the madchester inspired Pattern incite large scale appreciation on introduction.
It wouldn’t be unfair to say that with the great success the two have had, certain egos may be somewhat inflated. The faux-Americana (or man eating a boiled-egg) accent of Turner rears its head when he addresses the crowd, and the spread-legged rock ‘n’ roller stance is employed throughout by both frontman. You can forgive them these foibles, however, when you appreciate the skill and craft that both have exhibited in their songwriting. Never is this more obvious than when they bring the house down with the rocking punch-drunk ending to In My Room, which escalates into bedlam as they exit the stage.
The band return for a triumphant encore featuring a fittingly epic rendition of The Beatles’ I Want You (She’s So Heavy) alongside a euphoric singalong to The Meeting Place. The string section plays them out as they applaud their audience, in a fittingly cinematic ending for what just might be the most accomplished side-project on offer today.
The Last Shadow Puppets are touring various UK venues and festivals this summer.
By Lennon Craig