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Arctic Monkeys, Supergrass, The Coral + Delorentos live at Malahide Castle

Arctic Monkeys are flippant purveyors of raucous, Libertines-inspired pop, who like to maintain a cool, reserved and sarcastic demeanour. All well and good, except that this concert requires a greater sense of occasion.

Kilian Murphy, 29 Jun 2007

Delorentos’ brief recording career is insignificant when compared to the other bands on this evening’s bill, but within Ireland, they have acquired a strong reputation. They are also perfectly suited to playing a shortened opening set, as – over thirty blistering minutes – they have enough solid and familiar material to evoke an enthusiastic crowd reaction. This was a rugged, entertaining performance, which stopped before it threatened to become boring.

It may be an unfair reflection on the industry, but The Coral already feel a little like yesterday’s men: a fourth album is set to appear in August, but the unfamiliar new material in their set fails to visibly excite the audience. Despite their youthful demeanour, one feels that they are already on a similar path to acts like The Bluetones and Gomez – likeable festival bands, who can still create a buzz when unleashing their successful early singles, but who will struggle to score fresh hits.

Supergrass face a similar dilemma, although their heyday is obviously further in the past than The Coral’s. Perversely, this actually seems to benefit the group, as they have now settled quite comfortably into their role as purveyors of indie nostalgia. Some of Gaz and co.’s old confidence and exuberance may have departed, along with their ability to make No.1 records, but their songbook is as resplendent as ever. A breath of fresh air.

The Arctic Monkeys are an excellent band, and an important one. The problem is: the qualities that make them excellent do not make them an excellent festival band.

They are flippant purveyors of raucous, Libertines-inspired pop, who like to maintain a cool, reserved and sarcastic demeanour in the live setting. All well and good, except that a large outdoor concert such as this requires a greater sense of occasion, and a willingness to make grand gestures. The metallic rattle of the band’s music is always capable of eliciting excitement, but Alex Turner’s strangely hardened disposition prevents the show from fully taking flight.

The infamy of classic singles ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ and ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ ensures that there are a couple of impressive peaks, but in the main, The Arctic Monkeys do not handle themselves like a headline act.

In truth, this was a show which delivered four decent-to-excellent support acts, with no one quite capable – in musical terms at least – of topping the bill.

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