Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Mar 29th 2010 6:30AM by Stephen Dowling
The Sheffield band's third album, 'Humbug,' was released just days before the band headlined the Reading and Leeds festivals last August. Fans barely had time to get the packaging open before having to sing along with the band's desert sessions opus, which had been helmed by Queens of the Stone Age lynchpin Josh Homme and sounded like nothing the band had done before.
Unfamiliarity is no longer an issue, however. Seven months later the band's faithful seem to know the likes of 'My Propeller' and 'Crying Lightning' as well as anything off the band's helter skelter first two LPs, even if you get the sense the album hasn't wormed its ways into their affections quite as much as it should have.
A fan-club only shindig at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire, this was a chance for the Monkeys to trawl through their newest album and wave a goodbye to playing in the UK at the same time. From here on it's only a few more weeks in the US and Mexico and the 'Humbug' campaign trail can be considered done.
A day after their Teenage Cancer Trust gig at the Royal Albert Hall just down the road, the Monkeys came on with a lighting setup that would have done Radiohead proud. They started, of course, with album opener 'My Propeller,' brooding and portentous. Alex Turner peered from behind a slightly less voluminous fringe, drummer Matt Helders had chopped the afro down to size, but bassist Nick O'Malley and guitarist Jamie Cook both still looked like a collision between the constituent parts of the Kings of Leon and the Black Crowes.
Live, 'Humbug' sounded even more oppressive than on record -- the skittering, cutlery-set-down-a-fire-escape sound of their debut replaced by a sense of menace and foreboding, given extra weight thanks to the mood being maintained throughout. If ever a record has deserved to be appraised in a live format, it's 'Humbug.' The boiling, bubbling sea of fans at the front seem to have got their heads round it, at least.
Turner gave out little in between the songs. He thanks the fanclub crowd for coming along, but if anyone hoped this would be the forum for a story or two, they'll have left disappointed. After a tick-them-off sojourn through 'Humbug,' ending with 'Sketchead,' the band's encore kept the Homme influence with a clutch of recent b-sides, beginning with a clattering 'Catapult.' Their psychedelic take on Nick Cave's 'Red Right Hand,' sounding like a malfunctioning fairground ride, brought this long-awaited gig to a close. Bah 'Humbug?' Not even close.