I come from a place in Europe (Italy) in which indoor gigs in summer are as common as snow in August. When I first came to the UK and discovered the wonderful world of music festivals, I wasn’t even slightly aware of them being a thing. But fair enough, London’s summer weather is not the Italian one. All year round, except for a couple of days ago when I almost melted while attending one of the gigs that made my year so far.
Although temperatures in London being a lot higher than usual themselves, The Last Shadow Puppets were definitely contributing to the almost unbearable heat inside Alexandra Palace (universally renamed Ally Pally by the Londoners). A one hour lingering, sweaty, sexy show with Alex Turner and Miles Kane bringing all of the underage girls in the audience closer to the edge of madness than they’d ever been in their lives, and making it impossible for everyone else to stand still on their feet and avoid dancing with every stranger around them.
The setlist was a triumph, the essence of the band. Joined on stage by a string quartet, Turner and Kane played a perfect mix of old and new songs, including hits from their previous work “The Age Of The Understatement” such as Standing Next To Me and My Mistakes Were Made For You, which caused immediate singalongs among the die-hard fans in the audience. Dracula Teeth kick started a series of songs from their latest album, which included the widely criticized Bad Habits as well as the couple of hits formed by Aviation and Miracle Aligner.
Here are our top five moments from the show.
The unexpected gig opener
Confetti are a thing usually kept for the last song of the encore, an original element of surprise that no one expects (oh wow, how original). Lesson one from “How To Disorientate Your Audience, by Turner & Kane”: drop confetti at the start of the gig. Pink ones. Open your own band’s biggest show with a ballad. No, not one of your songs. A cover of Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me by The Smiths, while Johnny Marr takes the stage to play guitar on it. When you’re Alex Turner and you’re 100% sure you can convince them, you might as well confuse them just for fun.
An endless love story
Romance might be dead these days, but bromance lives on and is always a pleasure to the eye when it comes to these two. Even better when subtly disguised behind Beatles-esque mic sharing during “Separate and Ever Deadly” and “Standing Next To Me” and daring, cheeky eye contact from one side of the stage to the other. Ah, L’amour.
Alex Turner definitely has a couple of valid ideas on how to put on a show. We’re guessing these things just come natural when you’re friends and band mates with Miles Kane and happen to be an eccentric frontman with an intrinsic inclination for excess. As if pink confetti were not enough, the show saw the featuring of a giant mirrored disco ball dropping from the top of the stage once every couple of songs, perfectly channeling that effortless clash-of-everything-trashy kind of mood (which apparently, in their heads is a thing. And it works pretty well, too) which was also perfectly displayed in the band’s stage outfits: a slouchy white shirt and black trousers for Turner paired with an AM reference (One For The Road) printed leather jacket, a leopard print Hugh Hefner style nightgown with a black vest underneath for Kane. Well, at least he kept his pants on.
Moves like Elvis (kinda)
Some frontmen are just born with it. They jump on stage, do their thing effortlessly and go home. Then there’s Alex Turner, the clumsy frontman who always looks like he just practiced his moves in the dressing room and is trying is best to make it appear all natural. From seductive Elvis-like dancing to heart-wrenching self-hugging, to voluntarily collapsing on the floor and doing the angel in the snow among confettis (yes, for real). A sight to behold.
Leaving everything trashy aside, the band definitely knows how to make a classy tribute. The minute of silence at the start of the gig the day before in honor of the victims of the terror attack in Nice was substituted by a more subtle game of blue, white and red lights during Aviation. Musicwise, the tribute to Bowie in the form of a cover of one of his less known songs Moonage Daydream and the execution of Meeting Place which was called by Turner “ a love song to London” were some of the most touching and beautiful moments of the whole performance.
The show was the second one at the venue in a couple of days and saw an affluence of nearly 10.000 people, making both of them the biggest ever shows played by the band so far. The climax of a very successful year for the duo, whose comeback “Everything You’ve Come To Expect” took almost eight years to see the light of the day. Needless to say, it was definitely worth the wait.