The Last Shadow Puppets - Alexandra Palace, London
Alexandra Palace seems an appropriate place for the final UK show of The Last Shadow Puppets' 2016 tour, the grandiose nature of the venue lending itself to the tongue-in-cheek grandeur of the Puppets. Now four months into touring their most recent number one album, Everything You've Come to Expect, the pair - Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner and partner-in-crime Miles Kane - have developed a flamboyant style, the comical dance routines and extravagant outfits a far cry from their rockstar personas with their main projects. Eight years after their successful debut, the supergroup have rejoined forces, this time dedicating much longer to touring the new 70s inspired tunes.
A strong choice of support acts sparked the energy of the crowd - boisterous new rock band Yak were talented, albeit arrogant, and Supergrass's Gaz Coombes, despite problems with his guitar, had the audience cheering and singing along. The eventual entrance of TLSP was, in a word, ethereal. The stage was first entered by the backing orchestra, a four piece crew who played beautifully as a cascade of pink flower petals descended onto the stage and into the crowd. Turner and Kane walked on to hysterical cries and hoards of cameras trying to capture the artistic moment.
The set is perfect for balancing songs that focus on the duet and songs focused on either Turner or Kane, all three hold different dynamics that keep the set enticing. In songs like old tune 'Standing Next to Me' the pair play up to the crowd with their touchy-feel, microphone sharing interactions and the harmonising between them is a brilliant feature of the band. However there are others such as the harsh 'Bad Habits' that allow Kane to thrive with shouty lyrics and an energetic delivery, essential for keeping the whole crowd buoyant. There's the breathtaking 'Sweet Dreams, TN', a popular favourite, that leave Turner in control as he croons to an enamoured audience.
Something special could be anticipated for the final UK show but the crowd weren't prepared for Johnny Marr of The Smiths to walk out and for the group to cover 'Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me'; Turner's voice is a perfect fit and the collaboration triggered palpable emotion in the crowd. Marr returned to the stage later to assist the band as they covered The Fall's 'Totally Wired', the Puppets have an impressive list of live covers and frequently change them, however one that's become regular is David Bowie's 'Moonage Daydream'. Despite not being on the setlist they chose to play it as an extra final song, even getting Cam Avery of Tame Impala to join them from off-stage. Ending with Bowie (and a disco ball) is a surefire way of getting the entire audience singing their hearts out, the Puppets have a strong discography themselves but are very good at using covers to keep shows interesting.
With September marking their final date, rumours are beginning to rise about what comes next, the details of the next Arctic Monkeys record are yet to emerge but the gig seemed to indicate Turner was regressing back. He entered the stage draped in the iconic 'One for the Road' leather jacket from the promo of AM, wearing tight jeans and with his now long hair in an attempted quiff - a look he hasn't sported since the last Monkeys album. With fellow Monkeys Jamie Cook and Nick O'Malley visiting the side of the stage, it seems a regrouping is in progress and the next chapter may not be too far away.