I couldn't resist the hype and went to the Arctic Monkeys show on Friday at Spaceland. There was definitely electricity in the air. Lots of kids lined up in front of the club trying to get in and every music industry weasel in L.A. (and some from NYC) inside. Army Navy opened the show. Their music wasn't bad at all but they didn't have much stage presence. Pretty much straight forward rock that seemed to be influenced by mid-80s college rock. The venue was only about half full during their set. It started to get a little more crowded for the Tyde. Several of the members of the Tyde have been in bands for over 20 years and countered the fact that most of the crowd probably didn't want to see them by playing a mostly upbeat set. They sprinkled in a few songs from their upcoming album with old songs about surfing, smoking pot and being in bands. The crowd was mostly respectful but not overly excited.
Excitement grew and the crowd jockeyed for position after the Tyde finished. The sold out crowd was finally evident and attention turned to the stage. I knew very little about the Arctic Monkeys and was immediately shocked by how young they looked. My first impression was: this looks like the captain of my high school soccer team grabbed three guys from the team, bought some Libertines' records (they didn't exist at the time) and started a band. I couldn't hate them and it made their inane lyrics passable. Of course they sing about stupid stuff because they're just kids. But then I remembered Jackson Browne was the same age, 19, when he wrote "These Days" and "Somewhere There's a Feather." Well, Jackson Browne they're not, but they're definitely better than the Vines. It was very appropriate that they made their L.A. debut the same day that Harry Potter opened because the lead singer bears a resemblance. They actually have some potential but the British press is mental. Advice to major labels: if there's a bidding war sit this one out. Advice to band: enjoy the hype and take as much money as you can off the labels. Maybe one day you'll be doing blow with Kate Moss.