Photos: Owain Jones
The Last Shadow Puppets are certainly a funny ol’ pair. Strutting out onto the harbourside stage tucked away in Waterfront Square as part of Bristol’s Summer Series, Alex Turner oozes charisma as he purrs out a small greeting to the crowd, launching straight into the first number – kitted out in high waisted flares and a sassy white leather jacket slung around his shoulders.
Certainly not the shy frontman he used to be when he first appeared on the scene at 18 with Arctic Monkeys, he looks to be channeling his inner John Travolta as he wiggles his hips around the stage and flicks his slicked-back hair to the string quartet that welcome them on stage. Miles Kane makes less of a song and dance of his presence, letting Turner take much of the spotlight as he ambles out and grabs his guitar to get proceedings underway – and for the rest of the evening it continues to be Turner that holds your attention, cementing his place as one of the greatest frontmen the North has produced.
Smashing through huge hits from the long-awaited second album Everything You’ve Come to Expect, the crowd crooned along with Turner to the soul-pop mover and shaker ‘Miracle Aligner’ and gleefully belted out Kane’s pick-up line lyrics “It’s your decision honey, my planet or yours?” in fan favourite, ‘Aviation’.
As the sun set on the harbour the duo really got into the swing of things (literally, Turner’s hips had a life of their own) and upped the tempo with the punchy ‘Bad Habits’, which proved to be a set highlight as the crowd went crazy for the pair who were completely rocking out on stage. With Turner swinging his jacket around his head and Kane going to town on guitar, if anyone in the crowd was yet to be convinced of the partnership being showcased before them, this song was the deal-clincher.
Even the most subdued of onlookers had a little hip swing of their own to the smooth ‘Everything You’ve Come to Expect’ before being treated to a classic from the Puppets’ debut album, title track ‘The Age of the Understatement’ and new track ‘Dracula Teeth’, as Kane and Turner croon into the same mic and swap smirks from across the stage – friends first, rockers later.
Briefly taking a breather off-stage before reappearing for an impressive encore featuring ‘Meeting Place’ and ‘Standing Next To Me’, it becomes clear the effect that each of the frontmen have on the crowd, with the ladies screaming and wolf-whistling for Turner and chants of ‘KANE-OOOOO’ bouncing around from the gents.
One thing that’s completely obvious is that The Last Shadow Puppets have certainly come a long way from the fresh-faced duo that graced us with their debut in 2008, each taking on their own interesting personas and becoming charismatic characters in their own right – and that’s even before we get to the music. Started as a side-project and now taking on a fully fledged life of it’s own, it’s clear that this duo have got many talents, but their biggest is injecting some classic rock and roll into many a stage this summer.
Check out ‘Miracle Aligner’ right here: