Review: Arctic Monkeys, Deerhunter, The Orwells @ Agganis Arena (2/6/14)

Last Fm
Photo of Deerhunter from Last FM
Bands: Arctic Monkeys, Deerhunter, The Orwells
Date: Thursday, February 6, 2014
Venue: Agganis Arena (Boston, MA)
This here is a very peculiar bill. We have three very different bands from three very different eras of my life. Arctic Monkeys – I first came across in high school, 2006 to be exact, when they flooded the radio with their big rock song “I Bet That You Look Good On the Dance Floor.” At the time, I listened to very little contemporary music, so this gave me hope for the future. Deerhunter –  a band I first heard in 2009, well after they had become fixtures in the world of indie rock hype blah blah blah. The fact that I hadn’t even heard of them at the time goes to show you how I didn’t really pay attention to modern music for the longest time. Throughout college, Deerhunter became a big part of my musical ingestion and they have stuck to me ever since. The Orwells – With these dudes it’s a bit different. I first heard them in late 2010/early 2011 and I’m not going to act all OG here, cause really that sort of shit is useless. But, I will say it has been a pleasant experience watching a favorite band, barely known even in their own state (Illinois), rise through the ranks to become a somewhat recognizable figure in the current music ‘scene.’

When I think of these three bands I think of how much music has changed for me over the years and at the same time how much it has stayed the same. For the past ten years and especially in the last five years I have  made it a point to see as many shows as I possibly can and as time has gone by,  the venues and the bands playing these venues have slowly gotten smaller. So, seeing a show at the Agganis Arena is a little out of the ordinary for me, since 90% of the shows I attend now are in tiny bars, art galleries, or basements. AN ARENA?! WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS MONSTROSITY BEFORE ME?!!! It does feel like I am attending some sort of sporting event and not a rock ‘n’ roll show. The vibes are all thrown off. I feel like I’m in a quasi prison with the security guards standing  tall as some fucked KGB! It just throws me all over the place.  Yet, to totally negate all of that, I’m sitting on my ass crunching on chicken fingers and fries, wetting my whistle, and best of all catching a few bands that have touched me in more ways than one throughout my life AND I’m not in the nosebleeds, I can see the entire show pretty well. So, I’ll quit my bitching.

The Orwells – I’m proud of these dudes for making it as far as they have and I wish them all  the best in the rest of their careers. You start off one day playing in your garage and then not too long afterwards, you’re suddenly playing on a big ass arena stage, opening up for Arctic Monkeys and Deerhunter (“the best band in America” according to Baby Chuck, right on bro). Crazy.

The Orwells do their best to wake up the crowd of stiffs in front of them, but not much seems to work. It’s okay, they are all waiting in anticipation for Arctic Monkeys and that’s fair, that’s who they paid to see. Though, I am positive that Chicago’s finest charmed at least a few of the kids. They got me haha. Out of all the bands, I think Orwells are the best and in particular, frontman Mario steals the show. He has a “don’t give a fuck” attitude to him. He’s not really doing anything tremendously rebellious or radical, but see that’s the thing. He doesn’t care. He has charisma, a great voice, and he falls down often. That’s my favorite part. It’s a performance, it’s entertainment, this is rock ‘n’ roll after all. Needless to say, he’s got personality that makes him stick out from the rest of the lot.

As far as the tunes go, I’ve covered them before and I’m sure I’ll cover them all again as I see the band in a sweet SIGNIFICANTLY smaller spot tonight (March 4th) at Great Scott!

Deerhunter – Few bands have fucked with me the way Deerhunter has plowed through my subconsciousness. But, this isn’t their night. This isn’t their crowd. As much as I love the drone, that fucking thud that is Deerhunter live, it isn’t the best I’ve seen from the crew. Like I said though, this isn’t their crowd and Deerhunter knows this. So, I don’t blame them for playing a shorter set. They play 6-8 songs consisting of cuts from their last two albums, Monomania (2013) and Halcyon Digest (2010) as well as Rainwater Cassette Exchange a song off the underrated EP of the same name, the very one that got me hooked on these Atlantans in the first place.

Arctic Monkeys – I’ve never seen so many screaming teenage girls at a concert before. Arctic Monkeys, you take the cake.  You see where my mind goes….  anyway they see/hear something I don’t (as do their male counterparts). It’s odd, with this performance, I realize how much my opinion of this band has changed. I still dig them and this isn’t a bad performance, but I just can’t get into it with the exceptions of a few songs (“I Bet That You Look Good On the Dance Floor,” “Cornerstone,” “Fluorescent Adolescent”). I am realizing that my days with the big rock spectacle are for the most part over. It’s not so much the band that has changed (though they do appear to have gotten a little bit more commercial), it’s me. I’m just not into the big rock star thing. It’s like there’s this huge divide between the ENORMOUS PERFORMERS  on stage and there’s the puny, little crowd members that go berserk when lights flash on them or when they get to hold their cell phones up to act as lighters for the soft tunes. Ahh, I still like you Arctic Monkeys, but it’s not the same. It’s not you, it’s me.

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