REVIEW: Arctic Monkeys at The Anthem DC
Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino is out now via Domino
In May, Arctic Monkeys nabbed their sixth UK #1 with the release of their highly-anticipated album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. The album follows their wildly successful album AM, released in 2013, but sonically and stylistically is a major departure from its predecessor. The dizzying guitar riffs, cheeky wittiness, and accessibility of AM produced a carousel of hits, landing the group on top of album charts across the globe and introducing the Arctic Monkeys to a world of new fans. To date, the album has sold 3 million copies and has amassed over 2 billion streams on Spotify — with tracks “Do I Wanna Know?,” “R U Mine?,” and “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” commanding over one billion streams, alone. Having seemingly conquered the world with AM, the Arctic Monkeys have their sights set on space with their latest body of work.
With Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, the English rockers have created a charming lounge pop, glam rock concept album that explores the interconnected nature of technology, politics, consumerism, religion, polarizing societal changes, and all from the perspective of a futuristic, luxury resort on the moon. “Come stay with us, it’s such an easy flight… I put a taqueria on the roof, it was well reviewed” Turner slyly croons on the album’s first single “Four Out Of Five.” The album’s titular second single expounds on the well-reviewed resort, while also touching on the pervasive topics of religion, society, and technology found on the album.
Tracks like “American Sports” and “Science Fiction” serve as deeper explorations into religion’s role in a dystopian future, human reliance on technology, and the parallels between the two. “American Sports” finds Turner scrambling to charge his devices in time for a weekly video call with God, while “Science Fiction” mentions the creepiness of religious iconography in a futuristic society. While the Arctic Monkeys are not the first band to write an album with religious and technological allusions, Alex Turner succeeds in writing lyrics that are reflective rather than whiny. A fine line that a handful of bands have crossed. “The World’s First Ever Monster Truck Front Flip” and “Batphone” find Turner’s knack for tongue-in-cheek titles oozing in, while also continuing to touch on technology, the 24-hour news cycle, and relationships on social media. Overall, it’s an album that invites fans to listen closely, self-assess, and adjust in order to fully grasp the intended message behind the concept of Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino.
Four long years after seeing the Sheffield natives rip through their set at Bonnaroo, we knew without a doubt that we needed to catch the Arctic Monkeys on their upcoming tour. Following headlining festival slots and sold out dates across the US, Canada, and parts of Europe, the Arctic Monkeys finally landed in DC for two sold-out nights at The Anthem. From the moment the lights illuminated the stage, Alex Turner, sporting a newly shaven head, slinked his way across the stage delivering each track with a welcomed punch of swooning swagger. It was clear we were in for quite the roller-coaster. The night opened with the new album’s lead single “Four Out Of Five,” before hitting “Arabella” from AM and the Suck It and See lead single “Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair.”
The crowd roared throughout the night, especially when Alex Turner “lost his train of thought” during “One Point Perspective” and of course as AM lead singles “Do I Wanna Know?,” and “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” shook the walls of DC’s newest premier venue. In all, the Monkeys ran through twenty singles and deep-cuts on all six albums, closing the night with a three-song encore that included “Star Treatment” and “Crying Lightning” before sealing the night with a cut of “R U Mine?” DC will not soon forget. Stream Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino while checking out our photos below!