News Column

Arctic Monkeys bring arena vibe to Cain's

December 10, 2013


Dec. 10--British rock group Arctic Monkeys routinely headlines big festivals and venues in the United Kingdom and Europe.

The bombastic live shows fill those venues and excite crowds. But on its U.S. tour, it's a bit different.

"We love touring America," Arctic Monkeys guitarist Jamie Cook said in a recent telephone interview. "It's good for us there because we get to play these massive shows in Europe, and we get to come to America and play all these club venues. We get the best of both worlds, I suppose."

One of those club venues is in Tulsa on Wednesday when the group plays Cain's Ballroom.

But just because the band isn't playing a huge stadium here, that doesn't mean it's unknown here. The Cain's show has been sold out for weeks.

The Arctic Monkeys have been playing since 2002, then a bunch of kids from Sheffield hearing the big, rocking guitar just starting to emerge. It was unlike anything Cook had really heard yet, he said.

"When I got to like 15 or so, I got to The Strokes -- that massive explosion -- the White Stripes, stuff like that," Cook said. "I was into guitar music before, but that's what made me think, 'Wow, this is my generation's music.' "

Cook got with vocalist Alex Turner, drummer Matt Helders and bassist Andy Nicholson to form the early version of the band. They played mostly covers at the time, just doing their best to get through a song together.

The band played small shows and worked to release demos when they could, which spread rapidly across England.

When the debut album came out in 2006, "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not," the band rose to a new level of popularity. The record became the fastest-selling debut album in United Kingdom history with more than 363,000 copies sold the first week.

Cook said the band was having tons of fun, playing big live shows and at an age when that was expected.

"Especially being from the UK, that the age you start going down, going into town drinking. You finally find it," Cook said. "It's an exciting time, so that's what the record sounds like."

The album didn't do as well in the United States, but the group's second album, "Favourite Worst Nightmare," saw more success and a new bassist, Nick O'Malley. Released in 2007, it was an enormous hit in the UK and helped grow their popularity in the United States.

The band released two more albums in 2009 and 2011. It would be another two years until the group released their latest album, "AM."

This album took a bit of a different angle, with more hip hop beats in some of the music. Cook said the band really enjoyed the sound they were coming up with for "AM" while they were making it.

"It's kind of weird when you start a record, you kind of have in your head what it's going to be, but I don't think it ever ends up being what you thought," Cook said.

When they were writing the first song on the album, "Do I Wanna Know?" Cook said they were rehearsing in Los Angeles and went out to the desert to do some demos.

"I remember the first time we started playing around there and we'd never done anything like that before," Cook said. "I remember being like 'Wow, this is exciting. This is something new.' "

"AM" has earned critical acclaim from many reviews, with the British music magazine NME calling the album the "greatest record of their career."

Cook said he doesn't read many reviews but knows from the fan reaction it's a hit with them.


When: 8 p.m. Wednesday, doors open at 7 p.m.

Where: Cain's Ballroom, 423 N. Main St.

Sold out

Jerry Wofford 918-581-8346


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