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Music DVD Review

DVD cover

Arctic Monkeys at The Apollo


Artist: Arctic Monkeys
Domino Records
RRP: £14.99
5 034202 000532
Certificate: E
Available 03 November 2008

The Arctic Monkeys, who hail from Sheffield, have come a long way in a comparatively short time since their formation in 2002, when they eventually burst into the collective consciousness with their very catchy number one hit ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor’. This was followed by their first album, released in January 2006, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not.

Band members Alex Turner, Jamie Cook, Matt Helders and Nick O’Malley have been lauded by both press and fans alike, being nominated and winning both BRIT awards and the Mercury prize, not bad for a band which built their reputation via live gigs and the Internet.

The album Favourite Worst Nightmare won the 2008 BRIT award for Best British Album and they won Best British Group, they were further nominated for Best British Live Group, but lost out to Take That - must have been the middle age votes kicking in there.

The Arctic Monkeys at The Apollo (2008, 76 min) is the first time that they have committed one of their gigs to DVD, recording their last concert of 2007 at the Manchester Apollo. The concert was directed by Richard Ayoade, director of photography was Danny Cohen and it was edited by Nick Fenton.

Most of the twenty performed songs come from their first two albums, with a couple of extras thrown in, and is a fairly straightforward document of the concert. This was by no means a conceptual performance and the camera, for the most part avoids fancy shots, which add little to the band but pander rather to the director. You can never really capture what it is like at a concert, unless you get your better half to throw paper cups full of half warm beer - well I hope it was beer- at your head, but as a record of a gig this comes pretty close.

Of course any self respecting fan of the band will have heard all the songs and won't give two monkeys what I think, they’ll just go and buy it. But for the rest of you it’s still worth a look. The band play energetically for over an hour as they work the crowd. Many of the songs, having lost their studio sheen, actually sound better live.

The press release promises all sorts of things from post cards to Limited Edition Box Sets, all I got was a copy of the concert, so there were no extras, not even a menu to pick individual tracks. That said the super 16 mm film has done a sterling job at providing a clear picture and the audio does presents a faithful reproduction of the band's sound.

All in all not bad, shame about the lack of extras or any input from the band, though this may be sorted out on the final release.


Charles Packer

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