The opening night of a triple salvo for The Last Shadow Puppets at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre was, as their latest album predicts, everything that you’ve come to expect from the duo of Alex Turner and Miles Kane – an entertaining evening slightly soured by a sense that the pair appear to see themselves as sex symbols rather than the excellent front-men that they both can be.
Arriving on stage with Kane and Turner dressed as if they’d styled themselves on Grand Theft Auto: Vice City characters Tommy Vercetti and Lance Vance, The Last Shadow Puppets immediately launch into Used To Be My Girl. Kane assumes the role of front-man here but, in what was to become a theme of the night, all eyes are focused on the far more enthralling Turner as he struts around stage like he’s watched every Bowie show ever broadcast.
It’s clear that living in LA and being regulars in Las Vegas has had a definitive influence on tonight’s performance. There’s plenty of style and panache, however, there’s a fine line between swagger and sleaze, and at times that line is not only crossed but is left trailing in the distance. Kane is most guilty here, falling to his knees and thrusting his hips into his guitar during Only The Truth is the worst of his cringe-inducing moments.
Turner, on the other hand, is effortlessly cool throughout. That’s no to say he doesn’t have his slightly off-putting moments, but the vast gap in talent between himself and Kane allows him to pull it off. Evidence of this gap in talent is the fact that the highlight of the set was the double salvo of Dream Synopsis and Without You Baby. Both songs see Kane fade into the background, becoming just another member of the band (who most seem to have forgotten are there by this stage), and allowing Turner to showcase why Arctic Monkeys need to return as soon as possible.
When they focus on the music, The Last Shadow Puppets are a force to be reckoned with and it’s abundantly clear why three nights were required to fulfil the demand. Bad Habits is a powerful piece of punk-rock that was clearly written for the live setting, with the three-piece string section adding a layer of sophistication to proceedings. An excellent cover of The Beatles’ I Want You is the penultimate track before the pair send the crowd home happy with a rambunctious version of Standing Next To Me. The Last Shadow Puppets have every right to claim that the side project has been an immense success, but for most, it’d appear they hope that Turner won’t be standing next to Kane for much longer.