The Last Shadow Puppets

The Last Shadow Puppets


Castlefield Bowl is erected temporarily for the summer season. A stage over the waterway, set in the amphitheatre in the shadow of the YMCA leisure centre.  The atmosphere is of a festival that you’ve been at for a couple of days. A much needed buzz and cheer of a warm Sunday afternoon, where rain only mildly threatens. I can’t think of a better band than the Last Shadow Puppets to host this kind of ambience. A ‘super’ band bringing us large cinematic sounds with great depth, colloquial crooning and amazing production.

New album of 2016 Everything You’ve Come To Expect was sprung upon us after a silence of 8 years. A side project for Alex Turner and Miles Kane. The most dynamic and charismatic of duos. Their swagger and alpha vibes to match the Gallagher brothers but with better hair and more likability. I am interested to see if their appeal is about just that or the music itself.

Turner and Kane suited and booted, the first song is Smiths cover ‘Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me’. But not simply a cover. Johnny Marr saunters on stage, with no furore, to accompany them. It is a low tempo but mesmerising opener with a pretty solid guitar solo from Marr (obviously). The crowd are wildly excited. I’m already taken in with that stage presence.

Next up is ‘Aviation’ with Kane leading the vocals. I love their duet harmonies on this. The strings carry the song along with a hint of 60’s twang in the guitar rift. It makes us so happy to dance to.

Without hesitation they move on to classic ‘The Age of the Understatement’ the spaghetti western style up-tempo song from their first album. This song is probably what spiked interest in them in the first place. A fresh take on the guitars and indie drawl. A big sound, big production, fronted with so much character and gusto. The strings and drum roll are worth everything to that song. The crowd, genial and over excited. Like a Sound of Music singalong, sing every note and lyric.

‘Dracula Teeth’ is a new track so which has a baroque pop vibe to it. They are still giving it their all. No half measures. It’s getting dark now and the rain begins, though no one seems to notice.

In ‘Miracle Aligner’ Turner is keen to portray his image as a Yorkshire crooner. His Sheffield droll lilts from note to note.  I love the obscure lyrics in ‘The Dream Synopsis’ “And a wicked gale came howling up through Sheffield City Centre, There was palm tree debris everywhere and a Roman Colosseum” When we hit ‘Bad Habits’, they hit Sex Pistols-frantic that is probably a bit too theatrical.

I’ve got to hand it to them, they translate amazingly well live. The orchestra and band are tight and the vocals are spot on. Even in songs like ‘Used To Be My Girl’ where I zone out of the tune itself, it is still delivered with incredible precision. There is a lot of love for them in this crowd.

Their unique stage presence is undoubtedly part of their appeal but the song writing and production is a reason to love them. I don’t care for the earnest journalists who mock their egos or theatrics. This is pure delight and escapism. They end with an encore trio including ‘Totally Wired’, with Johnny Marr back to his guitar – “Johnny Marr, Johnny Marr” the crowd chant. Not in the least ready to go home.

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