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Friday, Aug. 18, 2006

SUMMER SONIC 06

Fans go cool on Arctic Monkeys


Special to The Japan Times

You might think it would be exciting for a band from a Sheffield suburb to play a huge festival in Japan. But when Arctic Monkeys played the packed Mountain Stage, it was without even the merest flicker of a smile. Preferring to bemoan the noise coming from the stage next door, vocalist Alex Turner seemed like the sulky boy at school who always refused to participate on sports day.

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Arctic Monkeys vocalist Alex Turner (above) and Joe Trohman (left), guitarist with Fall Out Boy, took different approaches at Summer Sonic 06.

They were tighter live than on their debut album "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not" but they played with a lack of vigor that was somehow . . . pathetic. Even the light show was more exciting than the band themselves.

Was it worth it for the fans that had queued to get in to the arena? Judging by the punters who streamed out after the band finished their breakthrough single "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor," obviously not.

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Their attitude seemed especially sour after the overwhelming love coming from Fall Out Boy's set on the Marine Stage earlier that day. Bouncing and leaping around the stage, this is a band that appreciates every second spent in front of an audience. It helps that they're one of the few emo bands to actually have a sense of humor. "Where's all the Japanese girls at?" asked bassist Pete Wentz. "Everywhere!" replied an American fan.

The Chicago boys played a set full of heavy distortion and razor-sharp pop hooks as roadies tossed bottles of water from the band's own stash into a baking hot crowd. After such a display of affection, it's little wonder Arctic Monkeys left us cold.

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