The Strokes rocked the Roundhouse in London, playing their first small venue in the city since 2010.
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to see The Strokes a number of times since 2001. The Roundhouse gig was my 11th time and the experience never gets old. The only disappointing show I’ve been to by the band was All Points East last year and that wasn’t their fault – the sound quality and mix was terrible at the festival. Last night though made up for that and The Strokes once again blew me away.
I’m sure many fans have had that tired question from non-fans ‘are they still going?’ in that dismissive tone that is annoying as hell but on occasion a little justified as The Strokes themselves have been fairly quiet outside of festival shows. Well the answer to that question is of course they are still going but they are also properly back with a new album and a new energy. Last album Comedown Machine barely got promoted and Angles at times felt a little awkward due to the tension between the members during the making of it. However, the band are not only back but playing as good as they ever have and with new songs that have been warmly welcomed by fans and critics.
At the show they played 3 songs from upcoming album The New Abnormal. New single Bad Decisions which sounds delightful and upbeat and a whole lot of fun. The Adults Are Talking which The Strokes have been playing live since last year and I really cannot wait to have a studio version of. They also played a debuted a new song which sounded lovely even if I couldn’t hear what Julian was singing about – whatever track that is look forward to hearing more of it.
There are a couple of things that make a great show from the band but Julian and his awkward and funny banter is always a highlight. He talked about how the British were the first to embrace the band all those years ago, how he loves the German language and accent, how we are always learning even if he didn’t much at school, he interviewed Nikolai about his favourite thing about British culture – it was lager by the way. Also please not Julian much prefers calling encores intermissions!
There is always a lot of discussion about Julian and how he behaves on stage and endless speculation about whether he is drinking or not. I really do feel like though this is just his onstage persona – a little be awkward, always messes up lyrics (he added a whole new verse to You Only Live Once) and some weird little dance moves. Vocal wise he was on top form, hitting those high notes during One Way Trigger.
The rest of the band were of course terrific, Nikolai is increasingly becoming a rock god on stage – complete with poses and climbing up the giant speakers just warms my heart. Albert was doing some limbering up and stretches and along with Nick showing their mind-blowing skills as guitarists. Little Fab up in the back as per usual.
The set list leaned heavy on their early albums. I really wish they would expand their set list and play longer than what is now their standard 1 hr and 15 mins but I cannot complain. There was a welcome return of Take It Or Leave It – a track that used to close their sets for many years. Reptilia made the entire crowd jump and the entire venue shake.
Someday Automatic Stop Heart in a Cage Take It or Leave It Ize of the World Hard to Explain The Adults Are Talking You Only Live Once *New song* One Way Trigger Bad Decisions Last Nite
Encore: Juicebox What Ever Happened? Reptilia
My hope is that the band continue with this new dynamism and that we don’t have to wait 7 years between albums again. They really do have something special and I want to keep on watching them perform for many years to come. There is nothing quite like it.