SDSU Open Air Theatre hosts indie classics

by Conner Cox

Two Door Cinema Club
Connor Cox

Last Saturday was an exciting night at the San Diego State Open Air Theatre, where an unusual collection of bands performed: Smith Westerns, Arctic Monkeys and TV On The Radio. Arctic Monkeys has been on tour for several months, supporting its latest album, controversially titled “Suck it and See.”

TV On The Radio has also been on tour with its fourth record, “Nine Types of Light,” since early spring. This is the band’s first tour without its original bassist, Gerard Smith, who passed away in April because of lung cancer.

At 7 p.m., the Chicago-based indie rock band Smith Westerns played a brief 30-minute set, warming the stage for the co-headliners. The Arctic Monkeys appeared onstage with grins on all members’ faces. Front man Alex Turner, with his new, modernized Elvis haircut, greeted fans with a charismatic “Hello San Diego, how are you?”

Turner and lead guitarist Jamie Cook tinkered with guitar settings like they do on the record and exploded into “All My Own Stunts.” This was an unusual opener compared to the band’s previous set lists. Segueing into “Brainstorm,” a strobe light began flashing synchronously with the song and the crowd’s jumping.

As the show progressed, the band played a few older hits such as “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor,” along with new material such as “Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved your Chair” and “The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala.” By the end of the set, fans were singing along with Turner to “Flourescent Adolescent” and “When the Sun Goes Down” like drunkards in a pub chanting bar songs.

After a 45-minute break between sets, the lights dimmed as TV On The Radio walked on the stage with ambient music in the background, clapping rhythmically into the microphones as the sounds transformed into the anthem, “Halfway Home.”

Stationed in front of the stage was a narrow stand of effects pedals, which lead singer Tunde Adebimpe used to loop and manipulate sounds that contributed to the buildup and transition of each song. The band continued with songs “Dancing Choose” and “Second Song.” At the end of the show, Adebimpe and company rallied the audience by closing the set with “Wolf Like Me” and encored with “Satellite.” Overall it was a successful show for the bands, and a fun night for concertgoers.