Live Reviews - Reviews

The Last Shadow Puppets @ Olympia Theatre, Dublin


A youthful crowd assembled in the Olympia Theatre for the first of three performances, the live debut of The Last Shadow Puppets in Dublin. The majority of attendees were of similar age to me, approaching mid-twenties, whom I assumed had grown up with Alex Turner’s prolific lyrics and music as both an Arctic Monkey and Last Shadow Puppet, and had encountered Miles Kane as a Rascal along the way. There were a handful of families present, mostly with younger daughters a little younger than I was when The Age of The Understatement was released in 2008. You couldn’t help feeling nostalgic and heartened to see that these songs are just as relevant to this demographic as they were to the people who experienced their majesty the first time around.

One of my favourite ports of concert protocol is the playlist curated by the band before they come onstage. As you wold expect, The Last Shadow Puppets curated a marvellous selection of classic pop songs from the 1960s. Then, unexpectedly, an instrumental version of Blu Cantrell’s ‘Breathe’,  plays and support band, Blossoms appear. They are like a cocktail of Razorlight, the Zutons and Kasabian, typical pop-rock circa 2010. The crowd seem to enjoy their set, but you can’t help but feel that there is a countdown happening in everyone’s head, impatiently waiting for the main act.

Admittedly, I was apprehensive to see The Last Shadow Puppets play live, especially after a recent slew of disappointing television performances and interviews. There was an underlying fear that their impenetrable egos were sabotaging their respective talents as musicians, and instead morphing into show ponies. However, all doubts were quashed as Miles Kane arrived on to the stage, picking up his guitar to play an extended intro to ‘Used To Be My Girl,’ there is no sign of Turner for several moments. The anticipation heightens, a collective eruption ensues when Alex, equipped with a tambourine, sinuously sashayed to his microphone. His gyrations continue as he sings, which sends his admirers into a frenzy. An energetic rendition of ‘The Age Of The Understatement’ follows and the eight year interlude slips away as the impact of that song, and the others from that release still manifest a familiar elation amongst the fans. This continues when Kane and Turner include favourite from their debut, ‘My Mistakes Were Made For You’, and ‘Calm Like You.’


There is no denying Turner’s captivating presence. He is tremendously enjoyable to watch, especially with The Last Shadow Puppets. The onstage chemistry between Miles and Alex is infectious, a display of two friends revelling in each other’s company. They perform not only for the crowd but to one another. Their enjoyment was felt throughout the show as they regularly engaged with the crowd. This superlative dynamic is essential in the success of the duo’s theatrical tempos and the dramatic gestures, gaits, and expressions which enrich each performance. Turner’s serenade of ‘Sweet Dreams, TN’, was a perfect example of his exaggerated inclinations, matched by Miles’ boisterous tendencies during ‘Bad Habits.’

Musically, The Last Shadow Puppets were outstanding, as were the backing band and enchanting string section. The orchestral contribution ensured the rich quality of the songs transitioned flawless from the album version to the live show. ‘The Meeting Place’ was one of the shining moments from the set. The lingering forty-five second finale of strings romanced the crowd; there was not a moment when the Olympia was not ablaze with love for the duo.


One of the only falters of the evening was a shaky start to the encore which began with a wavering rendition of ‘Everything You’ve Come To Expect.’ The stumble is minor, and what follows is a sublime cover, a medley of The Beatles’  ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’. This has become an integral part of the closing segment during this tour, it is a totally mesmerising display of both Kane and Turner’s musicality and talent. Finally, ‘Standing Next To Me’, sees the pair entangled as they successfully close their first Irish concert. As they exit the stage, Miles and Alex walk off wrapped around each other. It really is a lovely end to an evening that will be cherished by their adoring fans. Zara Hedderman

Photos by Pedro Giaquinto