Lesson learned: When buying tickets for a Hammerstein Ballroom performance by one of the music scene's hottest young bands, avoid the mezzanine section. Last night, the rows of distant, cobbled-together seats felt depressingly geriatric — especially as they overlooked the frenzied, overpacked mêleé that undulated across the main floor below, where Arctic Monkeys put on one of the slickest shows this town has seen in ages, complete with rapid-fire renditions of hit songs and a seizure-worthy light show.
Blame it on singer Alex Turner's thick Sheffield accent or our hopelessly American inability to understand British slang, but the sparse stage banter was totally incoherent. "This one's for the loud chest over there! The loud chest!" Turner seemed to utter before launching into a blistering rendition of "Old Yellow Bricks." (We think he may have been referring to the particularly fanatical, stage-diving, banner-waving fan at stage left.) But the water-throwing, hat-tossing, wildly pogo-ing reaction of frat-tastic crowd proved the band could do no wrong. Energy levels remained high after the show: One particularly boisterous gang of after-work types formed a loud conga line that worked itself out of the ballroom and into the street, before triumphantly disappearing into the hordes of wide-eyed tourists inching their way through midtown. —Sara Cardace