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The Last Shadow Puppets continue their ascent in front of a sold-out crowd at The Fillmore

The Last Shadow PuppetsPhotos by Diana Cordero // Written by Rachel Goodman //

The Last Shadow Puppets with Alexandra Savior //
The Fillmore – San Francisco
April 17th, 2016 //

It had only been eight years since I had seen The Last Shadow Puppets. At the time, I was raving about how brilliant their debut LP The Age of the Understatement was. It was also a show that had stayed with me. I remember watching them from the balcony at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom. Even then, I knew that venue had to be too small for them. That said, I am still a bit dumbfounded that The Last Shadow Puppets aren’t huge and can still play venues like The Fillmore. It’s not a bad thing, at least as a fan. But they came back stronger than ever this year with their sophomore studio album Everything You’ve Come to Expect, which was released a few weeks ago.

Long story short, Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys) and Miles Kane (The Rascals) should be that huge with this band. TLSP are a departure from Arctic Monkeys, but this is by far the better band. The two of them are the ultimate crooners. The way they sing to you, as if you’re the only person in the crowd, is pretty amazing. With their suits and dapper look, I was instantly reminded of the Rat Pack, with Turner combing his hair back as he takes a rest while Kane sings. Throw in some cool Tom Jones swagger and the emotion of Morrissey, and you get Turner. He has the charisma and charm that only Morrissey possesses.

I don’t think I had been to a show in a long time in which the girls were screaming like they were watching The Beatles. The girls were going crazy for Turner, including throwing things on the stage (unfortunately we can’t say for sure if there were any bras or panties that flew through the air). Their high-pitched screams and giggles when Turner looked their way were amusing. Sure, he’s a handsome man (and he knows it), but my God — when he sings, he becomes even more attractive. Miles, meanwhile, is the much louder, brasher of the two in commanding attention. The two of them together, however, work perfectly. And when they sing together, arms around each other, it really shows their fondness for one another.

The Last Shadow Puppets

Onto the music … TLSP brought a strings section to their show, an added element that helped keep things fresh and new. The show began with the beautiful sounds of violins and cellos, but the moment TLSP got onstage, the whole floor at The Fillmore lit up in billows of smoke. I’m sure the band was stoned by the end of the show if it hadn’t been already, appearing beyond excited to be playing on a Sunday night in SF. Turner and Kane must have yelled out something about SF every few minutes and incorporated SF into some of their songs. They were so incredibly tight, and I felt their set in some ways was a bit better than what I had witnessed years ago — the mix and order of the songs felt more succinct at The Fillmore.

Most of the songs were the same, save for “Used to Be My Girl”, which exudes pure sex and sultriness. The melodies from Turner and Kane in that song are absolutely perfect as their voices blend together so beautifully; it’s a song they should always perform live. “She Does the Woods” (with the intro from Arctic Monkeys’ “Joining the Dots”) came a couple songs later. Turner sounded so great on that song alongside Kane’s breathy vocals.

The one thing missing was the talkativeness of the band. Turner and Kane must have asked the crowd, “How you doing SF?” almost after every song and repeatedly said how excited they were to be performing in the City. In retrospect, the Santa Cruz crowd the following night was much more energized. People were beyond excited to see TLSP, with the line to get into The Catalyst wrapped around the block and down the street more than an hour before showtime. The crowds, though, were polar opposites with the Santa Cruz show filled with mostly college students from nearby UC Santa Cruz and other younger fans. Perhaps, SF’s music scene has become “too cool” where people don’t show their emotions. Either way, both shows that the band played in Northern California were incredible.

The Last Shadow Puppets

Some of the standouts from the SF show were easily off The Age of the Understatement. The ever-catchy “My Mistakes Were Made for You” showed just how great of a singer Turner is. “Standing Next to Me” has some of the best harmonies, especially as it transitions into the chorus, and “The Age of the Understatement” has the best buildup of any TLSP song, always making me think of a bullfight as it just gets more and more intense. “Meeting Place” was quite possibly my favorite song of the night with the strings section creating an emotional vibe along with Kane’s soft vocals and Turner’s dance moves/hip shaking. The song’s lyrics are heartbreaking, yet so beautiful at the same time.

It’s also awesome that TLSP are still playing pretty much everything off their two LPs. They could have cut their shows on this tour short, but they really put on quite a performance, one that included a cover of The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”. “Dracula Teeth”, which saw Kane playing the hell out of his guitar, was another pretty song, and the band’s single “Bad Habits” might be its most catchy tune of them all.

Opening the show was Alexandra Savior. She collaborated with Turner on her album, and he co-wrote most of the songs with her. At the Santa Cruz show, I noticed that he stood by the side and watched her perform while looking quite pleased. While she sings well, she seemed a bit too precious and twee for me. She was almost too cute — if that’s even possible — but at times, she had a sultriness and sexiness to her that made her quite appealing. She still put on a captivating show and should be one to watch down the road.

Setlist:
Everything You’ve Come to Expect (Extended string intro)
Sweet Dreams, TN
Meeting Place
Miracle Aligner
Dracula Teeth
Calm Like You
Used to Be My Girl
Aviation
She Does the Woods (Arctic Monkeys’ “Joining the Dots” intro)
Bad Habits
Only the Truth
The Element of Surprise
The Age of the Understatement
Pattern
My Mistakes Were Made for You
In My Room

Encore:
Standing Next to Me
The Dream Synopsis
I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (The Beatles cover)

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