The Black Keys and The Arctic Monkeys

Baby, I’m howlin’ for you.

All pictures by Rebecca Clinton

Sounds a bit like a title for something when you first read/hear it.  Then you realize that no it doesn’t.

So, this is strange. Now I’m the oldest person in line. I’ll tell you what, I don’t like it. When you’re going to a concert with a bunch of old people, it’s like confirmation of your tastes. When you’re in line with a bunch of skinny jean-wearing, converse cruising, hoody hipster punks, it feels like pandering

Arctic Monkeys

Things did not start well. It’s so loud my pants are vibrating. That’s from without, not from within. Luckily, I brought my Zune with my lovely Sony earbuds. That’ll keep out the worst of it. And I’m glad I both brought and wore them. Without them, I would have been utterly miserable and deaf to boot.

Has anyone commented on how playing the guitar very quickly looks a lot like wanking? Well let me put together a few words on that to voice a suspicion. This is like some kind of male fantasy in action. Girls screaming in joy watching a guy wank. It inverts reality to applaud selfish, lonely, and rather sad indulgence. “Ah, there’s something I can do and do it well. What’s this? They love it!” And they do.

The front man is pedaling like it’s the Tour de France.

The band isn’t the only show in the stadium.  I turn and see this guy behind me mouthing the words like a cultist.  It’s a little unnerving.  Looking around, I see people in various fits of fanatic screaming, chanting, singing depending on their skill level.

Oh, what is this?  Two hotties coming my way.  Wonder of wonders they’ve parked right in front of me.  The duo is rather dynamic.  Let’s call them Daphne and Velma–for twas their cosmic analog.  Daphne had more va-va-voom and a large volume of keratin. Velma, sadly without glasses, had straight hair and a more take-you-home-to-meet-mother sort of face and decidedly less va or voom.  In any case, it’s Velma who is literally parked caddy corner to my right hip.

There was also something different in their general response to music.

Daphne was rockin’.  The rock drove her hips violently into my  leg or hip depending on the amount of dynamism the tune required.  That was fine, but if she really rocked, it meant a curtain of hair and momentary blackout for me.  Can’t say I minded.

Oh, we’re clapping.  The unintentional syncopation is pretty funny to watch.  Oh, and they’re jumping.  Jump, jump, jump.  Hand in the air.  It’s like a tent revival except the man on stage is not coming to Jesus.

Now he’s wanking in front of the bassist.  Ew.  Why do they do that?  They both know the song.

Time to observe outside my immediate surroundings on the floor.  Lights shine out into the crowd and…what is wrong with that guy?  He’s literally banging his head without a touch of irony.  I fear for him.  And those around him.  And those without earbuds.  They can’t possibly be enjoying things.  I tried to clear my ears to compare the effect–not pleasant.  Where once there was a recognizable tune, now there is only a sharp squealing pain.  Back with the earbuds, no reason to be a hero.

Another flip of hair in my face.  I should really be annoyed at this.  I’m not.  Okay, that’s the sixth time at least.  Women appear to like nothing more than to run their fingers luxuriantly through their goddamned hair into my unprotected face.

Uh oh.  This girl over here is coming down off of whatever illegal substance she’s consumed.  She may just hurl all over the free goodies I had to lug around town from Friends with Kids (2012).

Uh double oh.  Beauty puts her arms up framed in front of me like we’re about to do a lift.  My sense of narrative competes strongly with my ethical and legal duties to refrain.  Okay, she’s brought her arms safely down.  The moment has passed and I’m still at my liberty.


Ah, a break in the action.  Thank you Arctic Monkeys, I actually enjoyed that.  I briefly attempted to listen to some of your music about a year ago.  While it didn’t last more than a week on my Zune, I may just have to rethink it and re-listen.

Well, now, before the Black Keys take the stage, there’s a second rush to the front.  There are about five layers of humanity between me and the metal fence, so I’m in prime push-and-swim territory.


What?  Oh, come on.  Someone who doesn’t have the benefit of being either Daphne or Velma has decided to stick her ludicrously stiff bra in my back.  I’ve heard of underwires, but I suspect this thing is made exclusively of chicken wire.  Not cool.  Actually, she’s way too warm for comfort.  Not hot, just really warm.

By now, about three hours into this standing marathon, I’m rolling onto the sides of my feet to sooth the agony.  Having this free bag tucked snuggly between my ankles makes me even more cognizant of the location.

The Black Keys

Woo!  Wooo!  Woooo!  What vocabulary these creatures have.  That is, vocabulary outside of their impressive knowledge of the lyrics to every song.  The Black Keys started with that one song I know, the one they play in Limitless (2011).  I’ve only heard two albums and a great deal of the set comes off of Brothers (2010).

No!  Beer swilling neanderthals have just cut me off from Daphne and Velma!  Freddy, you piece of excrement.  Shaggy and Scoob appear not to have come.  Oh, I’m wrong.  Scooby has just parked himself right in front of me.  Cruel fate, you’re sense of irony is truly unparalleled.  Freddy is the normal looking one and Scooby is a goof ball looking dude who’s 6’1″ and 230 lbs. if he’s a day and is missing at least half a chromosome.

The crowd, which is mostly what I can see now, is directing events from the floor with their pointer fingers.  I’m almost certain this isn’t in a 2/2 signature, but they know best.

Oh, now?  Is it now?  Yes, now it’s the part in the concert where people start smoking pot.  Man I hate the smell of pot.  Okay, even if I grant you that it isn’t carcinogenic and all the rest, the smoke will still smell like a fart after a chai enema.  For that reason alone, regulation must remain.

The Jim Caviezel one swapped with Scooby.  How nice.  He’s considerably thinner and now gravity will be far easier to resist.

Hey, he’s drumming with a maraca.  That’s pretty cool.

Oh, we’re jumping again.  How are these kids jumping?  My feet are killing me.  It’s 10:20.  I now know what Marty McFly felt like near the end of Back to the Future (1985).

The drummer has that look you find on old people who are playing flag football way too seriously.  “I’m going to run this route if it kills me–and it might.”  Dogged determination to go on.  I’m concerned for his well-being.

Oh the concert is over.  Or is it?  They walk off, but apparently we all know that they’re going to return to play three more songs.  I guess a clue to the uninitiated is that the lights aren’t coming back up.  Move it!  My feet are killlllling me!

Oh and there we are.  Lest we forgot.

Good show, guys.

About Prof. Ratigan

A semi-lawyer and amateur enthusiast.
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3 Responses to The Black Keys and The Arctic Monkeys

  1. 2manybooks says:

    Hysterical! Glad it was you and not me. Concerts are bizarre things. Imagine going to a musical and having the audience standing and singing along. Paying to stand for 3 hours, be pushed/shoved, and have to listen to non singers putting in their 2 cents…sounds more like a football game.

    • Well, I will say that I greatly prefer the applause policy in a rock concert to the classical concert. I liked that movement, let me clap instead of shaming me into silence. I guess a musical is the perfect combination as far as applause is concerned.

  2. Martin Sauvie says:

    Joe and I went to that concert in Columbus, OH. It was a good show. The Arctic Monkeys might as well have not been there as far as I’m concerned but The Keys played a great set. We were no where near the standing room only floor but given our age I was glad to have been sitting in the stands drinking expensive beer from a plastic cup. See you soon cousin.

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