The Strokes are a good band who could have been a great band but never as great as Lizzy Goodman claimed. I’ve seen them on stage and saw them great twice and significantly less than great ever after, the great times were the one with Julian Casablancas in a cast sitting on a barstool throughout the gig at Radio City Music Hall and still managing to blow White Stripes off the stage, and even better a breathtaking afternoon show at Governors Ball. Not the prime show a year later, the afternoon one.
Otherwise, they were not great live and so much so that I blew off yesterday’s gig at Barclay Center’s make-up New Year’s Eve performance (it seems as though they didn’t get on stage till past ten by the way) and after looking at the setlist I didn’t miss much: 5 songs off First Impressions Of Earth and 5 off The New Abnormal, “You Only Live Once” is one of The Strokes great moments and “Bad Decisions” is the formula at work, but otherwise both albums were big nothings, not uncommon really for a band with a total of one great album.
Yesterday, I decided to check out their set at Brazil Lollapalooza 2022 on youtube, and while they didn’t sound tired they sure looked passed it. Julian looks terrible, bloated and a hasbeen and while he still charms on stage, his patter was friendly but pointless, his singing fine but his songs iffy at the outside live gig.
There is nothing much to watch but Julian goofing around and the lightshow, and drummer Fabrizio Moretti refusing to speak Portuguese to his fellow countrymen. The band are equal parts tight and boring with some of the worst songs in their career a hurdle they can’t get over, “Eternal Summer” is an out of tune abomination with Julian singing on too high a register for his voice, before it “Reptilia” fails to make an impression and the following “Razorblade” that fails to explode.
The Strokes are a post-punk as pre-punk rock band, classicist who when Albert Hammond Jr nails those shard like rhythm guitar parts can turn your head even if the actual performance fails you. The Is This It songs are still magical even if we know the trick, “Hard To Explain” stops you dead as always although Julian in a trenchcoat and shades doesn’t look quite right.
The Strokes aren’t a Rosanne Cash or Steve Earle, they didn’t change horses and sucked, but even with a five year break and remaining with the same blueprint, they just don’t have enough songs to pull it off and with a leader who isn’t great at leading, they couldn’t get it to work.
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – May 1973 (Volume 4, Number 12)
From Robert Johnson to the Ramones – what a life!
one of the great top tens of the 2020
will mark their return to the road in early February, 2023 with a string of to-be-announced US arena dates
enjoyable and soulful romp
another full day of music
his weakest album to date
hoedown, snappy , country slappy
two nights with Olivia Rodrigo at the Greek
classic rock or classic prog
Welch’s best album since Lungs