This is like graduation day for the Arctic Monkeys, a four piece band from Sheffield in the north of England barely out their teens. But it's not like they've worked their way up the line up over the years, this is the band's first performance at the festival and they came in as headliners on the main (Pyramid) stage. The crowd was huge, all the more remarkable given Bjork is on the Other Stage and Fat Boy Slim on the Dance stage at the same time. The band appeared from nowhere (well, MySpace) in January last year with the biggest selling debut album in U.K. music history.
The Artic Monkeys are very modern British heroes: self-effacing, unpretentious and acutely aware of their lot. There is no spectacular light show or costumes, but what you do get is wonderfully observed vignettes on modern-life such as "I Bet you Look Good on the Dancefloor" and "Mardy Bum," which a Friday-night crowd can sing along toit's about them after all. And they rock too. Mid-set, the band sagged a little under the weight of expectation and poor sound, but high points included the pretension-piercing "Fake Tales of San Francisco."
The band later pulled off a cover of the 1971 Bond-theme "Diamonds Are Forever" in tribute to Shirley Bassey who'll be on the same stage on Sunday night before closing with "A Certain Romance" which had the crowd singing all the way back to where they last saw their tents, hoping the rain hadn't washed them away.