The Stokes

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Average User Rating 9.03
Total Reviews 1
Last Reviewed August 20th, 2006
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The Strokes Rules Live
Venue/Date: The Joint (Las Vegas, NV)
Concert Date:  
March 22nd, 2006
Reviewer: aceshooter

      Venue Parking  
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      Opening Band  
      Opening Song  
      Set List  
      Band Connection  
      Band Energy/Intensity/Showmanship  
      ConcertGoer Energy/Intensity  
      Sound Quality  
      Set and Lighting Design (SLD)  
      The Finish/Encore  

The Strokes shed aloof air during wailfest at The Joint

Full house sees gritty show by frontman Casablancas, rest of band

The Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas goaded hecklers and wailed himself hoarse Wednesday at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel.
Photo by Craig L. Moran.

The coolest thing about The Strokes is how uncool a response they elicit when they amble onstage, oozing nonchalance like factory hands on a smoke break.

During the band's stop at The Joint on Wednesday, the full house danced drunkenly, threw up on their shoes, crowd- surfed and pumped their fists like they were at a Dio gig.

At first, it seemed counterintuitive to see hipsters in thrift-store sport coats throwing out their elbows to a band whose songs frequently revolve around long, wasted nights and big city ennui -- not exactly the stuff of mosh pits.

Let's face it, on their records, The Strokes can seem a little standoffish -- not in a bad way. It's just that a natural air of aloofness tends to cling to this bunch as tightly as their jeans. You can hear it in frontman Julian Casablancas' loping vocals and boozy lyrics, which, up until recently, haven't revealed much about the singer other than his fondness for girls and beer.

But live, The Strokes' tunes sound grubbier and more full-bodied -- it's the difference between a Bud Light and a Guinness. All of the pent-up energy of The Strokes' recordings has to be dissipated at some point, and in concert, it all comes out in a sweaty rush.

At The Joint, Casablancas was the leering, laughing ringleader of it all, goading on hecklers and dancing on the lip of the stage, his white high-tops teetering over the edge. More wound up than usual, he swung his mic stand like a baseball bat, pistoning his leg up and down, like he was kickstarting some invisible motorbike.

During the normally melodic and nimble "Soma," he wailed through the song with such force that you could practically see the veins bulge in his neck.

Casablancas wasn't the only one recasting The Strokes' catalog with some added torque. Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond Jr.'s symmetrical guitar lines, which normally are as steady and precise as a surgeon's hands, often were more overdriven and frantic on this night. When the two dueled on the breakneck "Vision of Division," their guitars practically sucked the air out of the room.

It was a welcome counterpoint to much of The Strokes' repertoire.

Early on, the band's sound occasionally felt a little too disciplined, hemmed in by a preference for fat-free tunes. Sure, those songs made for a couple of great albums, but they also began to blend together.
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