In 2004 I was behind the bar at the Sheffield Boardwalk with Alex Turner..only a couple of shifts and, like the heyday of the Boardwalk, now consigned to history. I left to teach photography and start my business and he ended up with a record deal. Now here we are at the Motorpoint Arena – Arctic Monkeys on stage with several successful albums to their credit, not to mention all the accolades and awards, and me in the photography pit. It’s fair to say we’ve both come a long way but Alex possibly further than me. A sell out gig on a sold out tour – nice way to come home.
I’ve photographed them a few times now – on their first major tour and also some pictures for the Guardian. These days you have to be press affiliated to make it into the pit so on this occasion I’m supplying shots for the Metro.
We get the usual three-song allowance (sadly my bar cred doesn’t translate into pit cred) and the lighting’s a challenge –bit too purple and far too red. But there was one point where a white spot illuminated Alex and I made the most of it.
The band style’s changed a fair bit over the years but it’s a definite progression not change for the sake of change. Alex spends most of his time in LA these days and that’s where they recorded the latest album. He still has that uniquely English character but with his slicked back hair there was an air of Jimmy Dean about him. Did I detect a slight American twang there??? Let’s hope not – he’s one of our own and we’re proud of him.
I left the Arena with the band going great guns and the pit barriers under serious pressure from the home crowd as they strained to get within touching distance of some genuine local heroes. Good stuff and they sounded amazing. Long may it continue.