Music

Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders on their Sheffield shows: ‘It feels like a victory lap’

Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders on the band's huge Hillsborough Park homecoming shows and what fans can expect

Matt Helders, Arctic Monkeys drummer

Drummer Matt Helders Photo: Lewis Evans

Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders says the band’s two huge homecoming shows in Hillsborough Park, Sheffield, will feel like “a victory lap”.

The band’s global tour in support of seventh album, The Car, which was released in October 2022, has been back in the UK since the end of May. Arctic Monkeys have already played big shows in Bristol, Coventry, Manchester, Middlesbrough and Norwich. But the Sheffield shows will be extra special, according to Helders.

“The hometown gig is always a bit of pressure,” he says of the gigs on Friday 9 June and Saturday 10 June.

“But it’s not really from the show or the performance. It’s everything around it. Making sure everyone’s there and everyone’s got a ticket.

“You have to make sure you don’t forget to put your uncle on the list for tickets. It becomes quite funny and you almost forget about the show itself by focusing on that.

“Now it’s at a level that is so big that we are really doing it where we grew up. Going to Hillsborough Park. It feels like that one will be more of a celebration. It feels like a victory lap, even though it’s not necessarily the end of anything.”

Helders makes the comments in an interview in the new souvenir tour programme, produced by The Big Issue.

Britain’s biggest band asked The Big Issue to produce a unique programme for the stadium and park shows in Britain and Ireland, with all proceeds from programme sales – at the shows or online – going directly to Big Issue Group to boost our work helping the most vulnerable in society.

Arctic Monkeys UK & Ireland Tour 2023 Official Programme in association with Big Issue
Arctic Monkeys UK & Ireland Tour 2023 Official Programme in association with Big Issue

In the exclusive new interview, drum ace Helders also talks about life on the road 20 years into the Arctic Monkeys’ journey, how the slower, more cinematic funk of The Car fits into a barnstorming live set full of bangers from the band, and talks about his enduring friendship with bandmates Alex Turner, Jamie Cook and Nick O’Malley.

Helders also explains why Arctic Monkeys continue to work with and support The Big Issue. “The obvious reason is the good work you do… but it’s not just that,” he said. “It is good journalism as well as being a good cause.”

So what can fans going to upcoming shows in Sheffield, Swansea, Southampton, London, Dublin and Glasgow expect from Arctic Monkeys?

“You’ve got to admit who you are by the time you play stadiums. You have to deliver something a bit extra,” says Helders.

“When we first played arenas, we were always trying to make it look smaller because we didn’t feel ready yet. It was like, ‘We’re still like a little tight-sounding indie band’. But now we’ve embraced it. The showmanship is there.”

If you can’t get to a show but still want one of those must-have souvenir programmes, visit bigissueshop.com or store.arcticmonkeys.com

The Big Issue magazine exists to give homeless, long-term unemployed and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income. To support our work, buy a copy! If you cannot reach your local vendor, click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today. Or give a gift subscription. You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available from the App Store or Google Play.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
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