By Leah Greenblatt
Updated March 19, 2006 at 08:33 PM EST

Every year SXSW has its buzz bands, and 2006 belongs, in part, to England’s Arctic Monkeys. Simian fever ran high outside Austin’s La Zona Rosa, where a one-in, one-out policy had badge-holders and locals alike waiting up to two hours for entry. Inside, however, it was hard to connect the scruffy, unassuming foursome onstage — none yet of legal U.S. drinking age — with the massive wave of hype they’ve been riding the past several months (up to and including a performance on last week’s Saturday Night Live) — until, that is, the music started. Their sense of humor fully intact — at a sold-out New York show late last year, the post-punk quartet took the stage to the sounds of Blackstreet’s ’90s R&B classic “No Diggity”; last night, it was to Warren G’s “Regulate” — the band launched into the highlights of their recentrelease, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. Stateside cult hits “I Bet You Look Good On the Dancefloor”and “Fake Tales of San Francisco” got tight, blasting workouts; as wellas album tracks “The View from The Afternoon” and “From the Ritz to theRubble.” Do they merit the hype? Judging by the jaded industry folkswho whooped and pogoed alongside younger fans, it just might be theYear of the Monkey.

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