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Arctic Monkeys close Eurockeennes 2011

Arcade Fire round things off in France too

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France France | by Tom Bentley | 04 July 2011

Canadian outfit Arcade Fire set the bar with a typically polished performance that spanned the best numbers from all three of their albums.

Arctic Monkeys then followed suit an hour later on the festival's main stage, thrashing out a raw set that included tracks from their latest LP ‘Suck It And See’.

After watching the likes of Odd Future, Beady Eye and The Do take to the various stages around the Malsaucy festival site throughout another big day, an eager and expectant crowd made their way to the main stage for arguably the most anticipated act of the weekend.

Arcade Fire introduced themselves with the poignant title track from their latest album ‘The Suburbs’. This was followed by favourites ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ and ‘No Cars Go’ which took things back an album or two, prompting mass singalongs amidst a smitten crowd.

The sombre video imagery that had accompanied the band morphed to reflect more summery climes alongside the instrument changes that have become customary with the eight-piece.

Ironically describing ‘Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)’ as a "soft song written by a Frenchman in the 13th century," by frontman Win Butler who also took the opportunity to antagonise the crowd a tad by telling them that they were "the worst fucking crowd surfers I have ever seen".

The challenge was accepted and finale ‘Now I'm Ready To Stop’ was as wild in the crowd as it was climatic on stage.

It was always going to be a hard act to follow for the Arctic Monkeys. This was evident from within the gathering punters. There was a distinct 'end of festival' air about the place as the band hit the stage for the very final slot of the weekend.

They did so with aplomb however, announcing themselves with a belting ‘Terry Picker’. Drummer Matt Helders was on fire behind a Union Jack kit, driving a set that was raw in comparison to the picture perfect gig that preceded it.

The band's foray into finding a more vintage sound was evident throughout songs such as ‘The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala’ and ‘Don't Sit Down ‘cause I've Moved Your Chair’ had an heavier, almost stoner rock quality to it.

The guy who had been brandishing an "I'm 22 today, please wish me happy birthday" placard all weekend finally got what he was looking as frontman Alex Turner gave him his long awaited shout out before launching into some older singles including ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ - always a firm favourite with any crowd.

With the temperatures dipping dramatically, the Sheffield outfit managed to hold a crowd that could have so easily fizzled before the very end.

The dubiousness some sceptics had before the set never materialised as the band threw down a heavy number with the energy required to hold even the most weary of punters.

"What a weekend!" said Pablo with a distinctly Banderas-esque accent. "Arcade Fire were my favourite tonight. I like the Arctic Monkey's new album though so I am glad I stayed for that. It's a bit cold for a Spanish man in shorts."


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