The Last Shadow Puppets @ Sheffield City Hall
Despite Alex Turner currently holding closer ties to the Santa Monica Hills of Hollywood rather than the seven of Sheffield, there was still the infectious buzz of a homecoming show reverberating around the City Hall tonight. And ‘show’ is the operative word here because that’s what you get when The Last Shadow Puppets step onto a stage: not just live music, but a spectacle, brimming with dramatic performance and grand displays of showmanship.
Tickets snapped up in mere minutes, it didn’t take much to win over a crowd which were on their feet (and remained so throughout, the venue’s all-seated policy ignored) from the moment the duo arrived, with Turner clearly still revelling in his transformation from awkward indie kid to slick crooner and Kane just looking chuffed to be there. Launching straight into new album opener ‘Aviation’, followed quickly by first album classic ‘The Age of the Understatement’, 2,000 admiring fans in attendance were instantly appeased.
The well-judged selection of tracks whizzed along seamlessly, strings naturally on-point throughout, albeit with surprisingly little repartee from the usually quick-firing duo – a sign, perhaps, that Turner knows his home-town audience well enough to appreciate they’d forked out for the tunes rather than clever quips. Either way, both performers were on fine form: Kane grabbing a chance to shine on ‘Bad Habits’, which although not their most sophisticated offering – “Sick puppy! Thigh high! Knee deep!” – it perfectly suited the ex-Rascals frontman’s rasping vocals and brash persona. Turner later provided a touch of class, and a commendable Elvis impression for a Yorkshireman, with his solo rendition of the brilliant ‘Sweet Dreams, TN’, while the double-act were both in fine voice for another debut album favourite ‘The Meeting Place’, as was the rest of an appreciative crowd.
The inevitable encore saw one of the city’s gigs of the year signed off with a cover of The Beatles’ ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’, the dreamlike ‘Miracle Aligner’ and nailed on crowd-pleaser ‘Standing Next To Me.’
Yes, it’s all a bit self-indulgent, but undeniably smooth and alluring at the same time – and rock and roll has never been the place to leave your ego at the door, anyway. Tonight was, as the album title suggests, everything you’ve come to expect from The Last Shadow Puppets: a stunning performance.