||[Mar. 30th, 2006|05:40 pm]
indie rock for big kids
THE STROKES LEAVE AN EXCELLENT IMPRESSION|
Igniters of the garage rock comeback spark the San Francisco Concourse on March 24
By Jessica Fromm
Arts and Entertainment Editor
Gavilan Press Newspaper
Playing to a sold out crowd at the San Francisco Concourse, the Strokes proved once again that they know the definition of Über-cool. But this time, they’ve spit-shined their Über-cool.
Coming out a fashionably half hour late after opening band Eagles of Death Medal, the Strokes took stage and went straight into songs off of their newest album, “First Impressions of Earth.” Tunes like The Cars-esque, “You Only Live Once” “Redlight,” the batman-theme bassed “Juicebox” and their most recent single “Heart in a Cage” turned the mosh-pit into a whirlwind of sweaty youth.
Clad in a black leather jacket and skinny black pants, lead singer Julian Casablancas unleashed his vocals onto the audience, keeping the performance strong and full of energy.
“I used to think that San Francisco was just like, you know, man-love and hippies and shit, but your actually a hard-ass town,” he commented to the crowd between songs.
The Strokes, no longer the strumming pin-up boys of the 2001’s garage-rock comeback, still retain their gritty hipness, but have left behind the purposeful shoddiness.
Gone are the days of Casablancas drunkenly stumbling over amps and slurring through songs and in was a surprisingly congenial attitude and polished performance.
With Casablancas gripping the microphone stand like there was no tomorrow, they revealed a much more developed stage presence. The show also boasted impressive lighting effects, with bar-like light fixtures framing the stage and casting an intense rainbow of colors onto the band.
Despite the new album heavy opener, the band didn’t neglect playing old favorites off of their previous albums “Is This it” and “Room on Fire.”
Singles like their breakout hit “Last Nite,” “The End Has No End” and “Reptilia” got massive audience responses, with fans practically dry-humping each other as they bounced and jumped along to the songs. Eventually, so much crowd-sweat built up that condensation formed on the ceiling of the Concourse and started raining back onto the pulsating audience.
A few newer offerings off of “First Impressions of Earth” got a decadently less enthusiastic crowd reaction though, at one point causing a crowd surfer to get unceremoniously dropped during the opening riffs of the song “Electricityscape.”
The Strokes responded much more to the crowd than on previous tours, and vice versa. At one point, an enthusiastic male fan in the mosh-pit held up a large bouquet of flowers to Casablancas, who accepted them and commented into the microphone about the fan sharing his “man love.” Bassist Nikolai Fraiture then distributed the flowers back into the audience.
Halfway through the show, with blue lights bathing the stage, a mini mellotron was brought out, at which guitarist Nick Valensi sat down. With just Casablancas and Valensi in the spotlight they began playing the darkly lyrical “Ask Me Anything.” Lighters went up as Casablancas crooned through the moody tune.
Tremendous fro’d guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. dished out a first-class solo on the song “Vision of Division,” while Drummer Fab Morretti continued to impress with his almost machine like thumping percussion.
Only two problems could be found in the performance, one do to an over zealous smoke machine that turned the stage into a swirling nebula that eventually almost entirely hid the band. The other snag was slight, when Hammond used the wrong guitar effect during his solo on the last song of the night, “Take It or Leave It.”
The Strokes finally left the stage after a three song encore, which included fan favorites “New York City Cops” and “Someday.” With a Bob Marley song vibrating out of the speakers, the packed concertgoers slowly began to filter out.
Sweat-drenched and hot and bothered, it was clear that that night, San Francisco was definitely feeling some man-love. Man-love for five men in particular and their name is The Strokes.
(Photos taken from: http://community.livejournal.com/thestrokes/1496798.html#cutid1. If anybody wishes this photo not be used, e-mail email@example.com)