Sheffield's Arctic Monkeys get Dublin crowd a hollerin’

Travel problems persist for some of 32,000 Marlay Park punters

Vocalist Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys: lack of crowd interaction at Marlay Park last night suggests that he is still somewhat uncomfortable in the ‘frontman’ role. Photograph: EPA

Vocalist Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys: lack of crowd interaction at Marlay Park last night suggests that he is still somewhat uncomfortable in the ‘frontman’ role. Photograph: EPA

Sun, Jul 13, 2014, 12:22

The last of the standalone concerts at Marlay Park took place yesterday, with Arctic Monkeys topping a bill of afternoon entertainment specially tailored to rock and indie fans.

In previous days and weeks, big-name acts like Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire, Kanye West and Macklemore had performed in the south Dublin park to audiences of varying sizes, but the Sheffield band ensured that the gig series went out with a nonchalant bang.

Gardaí reported no incidents of note, but the predominantly young capacity crowd of 32,000 meant that some fans had difficulty making their way from the city centre to the Rathfarnham site, with pre-booked coaches selling out in advance.

Although Dublin Bus had laid on extra services on several routes, crowding at the city centre stops persuaded many to travel by Luas to Dundrum and walk the remaining thirty-minute distance to the concert site.

The assortment of accents within earshot suggested that many had travelled further than the city centre.

Ben Dyer (26) and friends had come from Sheffield to spend the weekend in Dublin and support their musical citymen. “They’re just the best rock band in the world,” he enthused. “And the support line-up made it worth our while to come over.”

Outside the venue, poncho sellers did a brisk trade as the ominous low-hanging cloud cover threatened proceedings. As it happens, there was little more meteorological mischance to negotiate than a few brief showers of drizzle occasionally sweeping across the park.

Up-and-coming garage rock duo Royal Blood were the first to take the stage, drawing a surprisingly large crowd despite their early slot.

Their set was followed by Liverpudlian indie-rocker Miles Kane, erstwhile bandmate of Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner in their Last Shadow Puppets side-project - although there was no guest appearance from either musician during their respective sets.

Indie folk youngster Jake Bugg impressed with a characteristically unruffled performance of songs like Seen It All and Lightning Bolt, priming the crowd for the main event.

Yet while Arctic Monkeys arrive 30 minutes later than advertised, their one-two sucker-punch opening of Do I Wanna Know? and Snap Out of It immediately re-animates the wilting crowd as friends are hoisted aloft on shoulders and flares are gleefully lit, to the chagrin of security.

When the quartet last played Ireland at Electric Picnic in September 2013, their album AM had just been released.

Almost a year later, their audience is more familiar with songs like Knee Socks and One for the Road and respond in accordingly full voice, while more tried-and-trusted crowd pleasers Brianstorm, Dancing Shoes and Fluorescent Adolescent are all jovially received - although the absence of singalong favourites When the Sun Goes Down and Mardy Bum from the setlist are conspicuous.

Still, althoughAlex Turner has made a convincing transition from shy cheeky-chappy to fully-fledged Elvis copycat - complete with leather jacket, Presley-esque hip-swivel and a comb in his front pocket to maintain his coiffed quiff -his lack of crowd interaction suggests that he is still somewhat uncomfortable in the ‘frontman’ role.

That he has the voice, the image and the songwriting skills to pull it off is indisputable; but, as he will have no doubt learned from watching the ‘68 Comeback Special, charisma counts for a hell of a lot.