"We're the Arctic Monkeys from High Green, Sheffield, Australia," frontman Alex Turner announced from the Lollapalooza main stage Sunday evening. No, the Arctic Monkeys are not from Australia, and on Sunday the four-piece brought their native, bleak British weather to Lollapalooza 2011.
A torrential downpour blew over the festival grounds just before sunset flooding fields and leaving 90,000 festivalgoers needing a new pair of shoes come Monday morning. But, the Monkeys waited out the storm for 30 minutes and still got to play a 13-song set that included their quick punchy classics 'Teddy Picker,' 'I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor' and 'Brianstorm' as a rainbow beamed above.
"Our next song is dedicated to Mother Nature." Turner told the crowd with a sarcastic laugh. "It's called 'She's Thunderstorms' everybody!" This wasn't the only moment in the Monkeys' set where music would coincide with the natural elements. Another would come at the end, but it was obvious that this evening Mother Nature was on the Arctic Monkeys' side.
The band's following has only gotten bigger in the US, a fact made apparent by the legions of soaked fans who waited out the monsoon to see them return for their second Lollapalooza appearance. "We like playing in the States," bassist Nick O'Malley told Spinner backstage. "It's nice to play smaller venues where you can connect more with the audience."
Five years after their buzzed-about debut, 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not,' the band fled the British winter in flavor of California's warmer weather to record 'Suck It and See.' "We wanted to bring a little of sunshine into the album," O'Malley explained. The Monkeys played four new tracks off 'Suck It,' including the grungier, Nirvana-inspired single 'Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair.' But the sun didn't shine 'til the very end of the band's 45-minute set, coincidentally during the manic riffs of 'When the Sun Goes Down,' turning the audience golden. "'Cause he's a scumbag, don't you know," Turner lamented into the mike before pausing to address the crowd. "Make some noise everybody! I said he's a scumbag, don't you know," he sang, picking up the pace again causing a raucous mud-slinging dance party.
Coming off the backstage platform, a drunken reveler screamed to Turner, "Whooo. You were f---ing awesome!"
"Thanks, man," Turner shouted back at the fan and threw the guy his towel. Yup, America and the weather love the Arctic Monkeys.