Following eight years since their debut album, 2016 saw the return of Miles Kane and Alex Turner with The Last Shadow Puppets, with new album, ‘Everything You’ve Come to Expect’. As well as this, the band performed a series of live dates, including festival appearances at T in The Park and Glastonbury. Last March, they started their first UK tour at a variety of tiny venues, including London’s Hackney Empire. And a few weeks ago, they started their second leg of UK dates which included 2 nights at London’s Alexandra Palace, Friday 15th and Saturday 16th July. Doors opened on Friday night at 6.30 and by around 7.00 the venue was packed. The first support band were rough indie rock trio Yak. Having released their debut album ‘Alas Salvation’ in May, Yak never fail to amaze me live. Their stage presence is rough and messy, and their sound is really experimental and fresh; they really impressed with their loud distorted sound, and reminded me a lot of Royal Blood and The Libertines in terms of their crazy fun on-stage presence. They were especially incredible when doing tracks like ‘Harbour the Feeling’ and ‘Smile.’ The next support act was Gaz Coombes, more commonly known as lead singer of fun indie-rock band Supergrass. His backup band were a bit strange, and their stage presence wasn’t honestly as impressing or exciting as Yak’s had been. However, his voice was incredible and the sound produced was really nice, particularly on the track ‘The Girl Who Fell To Earth.’
And then the wait for the main act began. The wait between the last support act and headlining band is always the longest, tensest wait ever, with anticipation and excitement building in the room. The atmosphere in the venue was buzzing, and by 9.15 (when the band came on) it was dark and crowded inside the venue, the perfect gig atmosphere. The first instalment of excitement for the crowd was the band’s orchestral four piece coming on stage- the baroque orchestra sound is key to The Last Shadow Puppets, and it played a huge role in the intensity of their live sound last Friday.
The show was captivating and messy and sexy, a lot rougher and crazier than you would expect from The Last Shadow Puppets. But their album, which came out in April, is actually full of dirty sexy lyrics and crazy experimental rock riffs, completely different to the baroque-orchestral sound produced in their 2008 debut ‘The Age of The Understatement’. Their presence on stage really was insane, and Miles and Alex had this natural chemistry which just added to the vibrancy of their set. Zach Dawes (bassist) also had this ridiculously sexy aura about him, especially with the joint backing vocals with Alex during the band’s cover of ‘Totally Wired.’ That cover was a lot of fun, with Miles really losing it on stage; his vocals throughout the entire gig were fantastic, really raspy and cutting. Watching him and Alex perform together is always an incredible experience, and I’ve been lucky enough to see them three times within the last couple of years.
They had such an exciting setlist as well, opening with their classic hit ‘The Age of The Understatement’ and going on to perform another 17 tracks. The crowd was so much fun as well, with heavy moshing and dancing especially for tracks like ‘Aviation,’ ‘Calm Like You’ and ‘Bad Habits.’ The band also performed a cover of ‘Totally Wired’ by The Fall, which featured lead vocals from Miles and sexy backup vocals from Zach and Alex who both harmonised on the same microphone. The second cover the band did was Bowie’s ‘Moonage Daydream,’ this time led by Alex, featuring an incredible guitar solo from Miles. It must have taken immense courage to cover such an amazing Bowie track, especially as he is such an inspiration to the band- they covered ‘In the Heat of the Morning’ as part of ‘The Age of the Understatement’ B-sides in ’08, and their track ‘Everything You’ve Come to Expect’ features the lyric ‘croc-skin collar on a Diamond Dog,’ clearly inspired by Bowie. The setlist also featured a heap of tracks from their new album like ‘Miracle Aligner,’ ‘Dracula Teeth,’ and ‘Sweet Dreams, TN’ as well as countless tracks from their 2008 debut, including ‘Only The Truth,’ ‘In My Room’ and ‘Standing Next to Me.’
The venue was beautiful as well, and for my first time at Alexandra Palace- or Ally Pally- it certainly didn’t disappoint, with a fantastic sound system and gorgeous curved roof with stained glass windows that magnified the sunset outside beautifully. Overall, the gig was truly incredible, with an outstanding crowd to accompany the fantastic live stage presence Alex and Miles had. Their onstage chemistry was undeniable, and made for a fantastic, fun, beer drenched evening.
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Gig rating: 9/10
See the band’s setlist here: