A (P)Review: The Arctic Monkeys of the Future, or, Me v. The Wiltern (Round Three)

The Arctic Monkeys
wiltern signThe Wiltern / June 3, 2006
Los Angeles, CA

So we meet again, Wiltern. It’s early. I want to eat at the Denny’s beside you, but I cannot. I’m waiting. In line. At 8. In the morning. Why? Because Los Angeles is cra-zay, and if you want to see a concert at night, you’ve got to start preparing in the morning. Which is why we are lining up, next to lots of Hot Topic-ed kids in drainpipes and Converse (who probably thought the line about “knackered Converse” was soooo cute). I break out the supplies: the ‘Pod, Q/NME/The Word (street cred, you see), water bottle, various foodstuffs in plastic baggies.

The Wiltern at 8 am is a sight to behold, I’m sure, except I fell asleep. The cement is hard, my ass is numb, did I learn NOTHING about waiting in line from my two Muse tours? The avoidance of inane conversation about MySpace pages and “who’s your favo(u)rite member?” proves to be more taxing than I’d remembered, and I doze off, probably dreaming about Denny’s. Sometimes I feel so old.

We cycle shifts through the day, listening to music, knitting, reading. We try to avoid the random sidewalk sales associates who peddle their bizarre goods onto us, and we silently reject everything from original poems to stickers that say “FedSex”. We send text messages to each other about the goobers slinking around. Are they hipsters? Scenesters? I can never tell the difference.

Eventually dusk falls and we all stand up, grumbling about the fuckheads in front of us who waited in line all day as a placeholder for their 17 friends. Damn it. We glare at those wiltern lineforty-year-olds who always manage to monopolize the front of the line, but never attempt to get to the front of the pit. Weirdos. The exhaustion from sitting against a building for 10 hours melts as we enter you, grand Wiltern, get our tickets torn, bags checked… and then, despite the blasé requests of “no running!” we book it and make a beeline for the barricade, our home away from home.

Front and center, bracing with our legs, grasping with our hands. I love you, metal barricade. I love the way you make me feel like a woman. A tired, sore, slightly sweaty woman. And even at the barricade, we’re still feet away from the stage. FEET!! Jesus Christ, Wiltern, trust us already. We aren’t going to spaz out.

The show starts. Some opening band comes on. My feet hurt already. I get elbowed in the back a lot. We yell at some kids in braces. Hello, Wiltern, ever heard of an age limit?

Changeover. The pubescenster boys and girls try to worm their way up front. I laugh at them. And inadvertently kick one in the shin. She’ll probably post about this on the message board tomorrow. It’s always this way with you, isn’t it Wiltern? Always more about the crowd than the band.

Then on they come- the Monkeys of Arctic. I’m afraid all euphemisms have been used up by every other “rock journalist”, so suffice it to say that they look like people who would’ve frustrated me in junior high, but who always would’ve wound up as my lab partners.

I sing, smile, try to get Jamie to acknowledge me. I pinch some girl who’s really getting on my nerves. I scream to my friends. I hug my barricade. Sometimes I look behind me at the poor tools that wound up in the seated sections. Any appearance of unenthusiam from the crowd is most definitely because of those seated seats. Come on, Wiltern, get your act together.

Oh! B-sides!! Oh! That song about the dance floor!!

I start to think about Denny’s again. God, I love pancakes.

The younglings are onstage in hoodies, Adidas, Puma, Converse. Typical. No pointy-toed shoes here. No acne-regimes either. I love it. I fucking love your Monkey business, you little Sheffies!

If I really wanted to write a proper (p)review, I’d have to throw in some adjectives like grimy, raw, pounding, raucous, etc, etc. I’d also mention something about how they either a) lived up to the hype or b) did not, but somehow include the word hype in this article. But that’s a waste of our time, Wiltern, and we both know it. You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again.

The show ends. We stall, yell up the roadies, get a set list, maybe a drumstick. We attempt to find the tour manager. We need to talk to the kids, for a documentary we’re making. No dice. Fuck you, Wiltern.

We leave and as we pass the fans hoping for a scribble, we roll our eyes. We are just too cool for that kind of nonsense. After all, this is LOS ANGELES. Get a grip.

A unanimous decision is made- Denny’s. In Culver City. Take that, Wiltern.

I reflect in the car ride over, relaxing on the nice, cushy seats. Pancakes. Monkeys. Barricades. God damn it, Wiltern. I tried so hard to love you… but you really left me no choice.

My Culver pancakes taste slightly less jaded than those of the Wilshire variety. I’ve lost my voice. I wipe some barricade grease off of my hand.

Until next time, Wiltern…until next time.

(Note: Due to a certain ticketmonger’s inconveniently exorbitant charges for convenience, overestimating scalpers, and the mass proliferation of people in L.A. with lots of time on their hands, I actually have to go to San Diego to see the Arctic Monkeys. Yeah, that’s right Wiltern. I’m cheating on you. With SOMA.)