published Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Arctic Monkeys at Track 29 in Chattanooga - Oct. 7

Arctic Monkeys
Arctic Monkeys
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
IF YOU GO

* What: Arctic Monkeys.

* When: 9 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7.

* Where: Track 29, 1400 Market St.

* Admission: $25 in advance, $28 at the door.

* Phone: 423-521-2929.

* Website: www.arcticmonkeys.com.

Perhaps surprisingly for a band that earned comparisons to Brit-pop giants such as Oasis and Blur remarkably soon after its creation, Arctic Monkeys has always operated under a mantra of "slow and steady."

"We never saw this coming," says drummer Matt Helders, who has been with the indie band since he and three high school friends -- Alex Turner, Jamie Cook and Andy Nicholson --formed it a decade ago.

"Just doing a show used to be our biggest ambition," Helders continues. "Then, once you get over that milestone, you set another ambition. They were all modest, like to release a single or have a song on a vinyl record. It's still like that; it's all one step at a time."

But the band achieved those milestones more quickly than most.

Helders says Arctic Monkeys, like many fledgling bands, spent about a year touring around England "playing shows to just three people," but the indie rockers' popularity rose meteorically after playing a sold-out show in 2005 at the London Astoria to a crowd assembled largely through word-of-mouth praise online for their demo recordings.

From there, the momentum continued to build. When it was released in 2006, the band's debut LP, "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not," set U.K. sales records. Later that year, the band earned the Mercury Prize, an honor given to the best album from the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland, the New Musical Express Award for Best New Band and the Brit Award for Best British Breakthrough Act.

For all its early success at home, Arctic Monkeys struggled with breaking into the market in the U.S., where total sales of the first album were less than first-week sales in the U.K. Partly, Helders says, it was a matter of being young and stubborn.

"At that age, I suppose we ... were quite content to come here for a couple of weeks and play an exciting show in a small club that was sold out," he says. "We didn't want break our backs trying to sell a load of records here.

"Now, we see the importance in it and the appeal of being popular in America."

After a sophomore appearance as headliners for the opening night of the Glastonbury Festival in June, Arctic Monkeys now is touring the U.S. to support the Sept. 10 release of its fifth studio album, "AM." On Monday, the band will take the stage at Track 29.

Pitchfork rates "AM" 8/10, and Seattle-based KEXP Blog writes: "The boys are more confident than ever, smoothly transitioning into what they never thought they would be: rock stars."

"We felt like we'd done something really good and unique [with this album], but you're always proud of what you do when you release it," Helders says. "You can never take for granted what people are going to think of it, [but] since the first record, this is the biggest reaction I've seen for [one of our] records, live and critically."

Contact Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6205.

Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...

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