You need to go see this band. Seriously, just do it.
Now we’ve got that out the way, I guess we can get down to the nitty gritty of it all. The Last Shadow Puppets have just released their sophomore album Everything You’ve Come To Expect, their first album in eight years, and it didn’t disappoint. Still laced with the dreamy nostalgia of eras gone by, Everything… is all we’d been waiting for from Alex Turner and Miles Kane, and thus they took the album on tour in a number of intimate venues across the country. We took a trip to Sheffield City Hall – Turner’s homecoming show – to assess the album (and their back catalogue) in its live form.
It was hard not to be impressed from the word go with The Last Shadow Puppets, considering support act YAK delivered a lacklustre performance of unnecessary noise, long intros and even longer outros that rather self-indulgently lead each song into one another as if they were trying to recreate something epic, like Dark Side Of The Moon, but with more repetition and not even a tiny bit as original or enjoyable.
After leaving the stage without even the slightest utterance to the crowd or the headlining band, I was even more eager to see TLSP arrive, even if it was just to erase the ungratefulness of YAK before them.
And as the band filled in the stage – first the string quartet, then the touring musicians, and then (dressed to the absolute nines) Turner and Kane – the entirety of Sheffield City Hall was on its feet. As the only show on the tour that was entirely seated, it was amazing to see that the crowd were encapsulated throughout the whole show and barely even took a breath from singing, let alone allowed themselves to sit down for a break.
Almost uncomfortably close were the front row of the crowd, and Turner and Kane revelled in it. Catching the eyes of swooning girls and idolising boys, their infamous egos were not an issue on this evening. There’s been a lot of interesting stories floating around about the boys antics of late, but on this evening they were perfect gents. Alex Turner jumped down from the stage and had a wander amongst the crowd at one point – a brave choice, considering he practically got mugged by fans wanting selfies and embraces.
The music was tight, and I mean really tight. The strings were indescribably beautiful throughout, especially with the likes of big number “Age of the Understatement” and new album track “Dracula Teeth”. The duos vocals danced and bounced off one another in the most amazing harmonies and falsettos, incredibly so on album title track “Everything You’ve Come to Expect”. And with obvious ease, too. It wouldn’t do anything for their image if they looked as if the performance was anything but a walk in the park.
Up to this point, I’ve always considered Alex Turner a little arrogant since his fame took him from spotty Sheffield teen to international superstar, however I (and the rest of the venue for that matter) was completely besotted with him throughout the whole night. He’s earned his right to saunter across that stage and confidently hold the gaze of 2,000 adoring fans.
That’s not to say the whole affair was about him. On the contrary, the fans were more often than not chanting the name of partner in crime, Miles Kane who gave an energetic and utterly electric performance. Taking the lead a little more on the second album, Kane clearly loves the limelight as much as Turner. But they’re absolutely the sort of band that can pull it off.
The first part of the set came in at just over an hour and seemed to pass us by far too quickly. As the band came back for an encore, which began with an incredible cover of The Beatles “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”, there was definitely an air of sadness in the room as we realised our evening was coming to an end.
As “Miracle Aligner” and “Standing Next To Me” brought the night to a close, I certainly had one of those feelings as if Sheffield City Hall had witnessed something magical. I don’t think a single person left that venue feeling shortchanged, and as we walked the streets of Turner’s own Sheffield City Centre, the echoes of fans singing their favourite tracks were heard for hours.