Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Strokes, Doncaster Dome, 28/1/06. Yes, Doncaster.

It's not very often I travel to my home town of Doncaster to see a band, so when the eigth biggest in the world* was advertised as playing there, I had to do that whole eye-rubbing thing. But no, it was right, The Strokes were indeed taking a break from the big time to play at what is basically a sports centre. And not some special sports centre, but one in Doncaster. Someone fire the booking agent.

I really like The Strokes; they write brilliant tunes, they're impossibly cool, and could have kept going on the Is This It vein for as long as they'd liked, because I love it. So while I was thoroughly looking forward to this gig, certain things concerned me. 1) That I was seeing them at the Doncaster Dome. Would they put their all into such a tiny date? 2) Would they put their all into it anyway. Doncaster or not, The Strokes aren't known for impeccable stage performances, and if lead-singer Julian Casablancas has had a bad day he might just throw a tantrum and only play a few tracks. Actually, I don't know if he's ever thrown a tantrum and only played a few tracks but the fear of him doing that is always there. 3) That they're promoting a new album. Would they just play First Impressions of Earth from start to finish and growl at every inevtiable shout for 'Last Nite'?

There's a 'but I needn't have worried' coming isn't there? Course there is! They were really, well, profressional. Not a word I thought I'd be using, but they were. They were tight, Fabrizio's guitar solos were clear, Julian was in excellent voice (my classically trained friend said he was note perfect) and what's more they seemed to be really up for it. Julian mumbled in his usual way between every few tracks and got a cheer for every mention of Doncaster - unfortunately one time his lack of enunciation while speaking meant that it took us ages to work out that he'd said that they'd never played the previous track before, which is a shame cos that's a huge thing and we gave no reaction! But no matter. The setlist was a fan's dream - a decent amount from the new album but there was always a hit around the corner, from Last Nite to Reptilia. In fact, no fewer than eight out of the eleven tracks on Is This It were played. I don't have First Impressions of Earth but I will do - the new stuff was certainly, erm, interesting. In a good way. Someday, 12.51 and Juicebox got the crowd dancing, and Julian thanked us all with a bow and a salute. Couldn't ask for more.

*Wanna hazard a guess at the other seven? It's debatable, but that's the point :)


Paul Fuzz said...

The Other Seven: Could they be..

.1.The Beatles
.2.The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
.3.Booker T and The MGs
.4.The Electric Flag
.5.James Brown & The JBs
.7.Zoot Money's Big Roll Band

Do I win a prize?

AnnaWaits said...

That'd be good, wouldn't it?


Paul Fuzz said...

Retro-fetishism aside, it's nice to hear that The Strokes put on a 'professional' show. The damaging super-hype surrounding their debut album and the New Yorker's shell-shocked Budwiser-glugging reaction to expectations they couldn't possibly meet should be regarded nervously by The Arctic Monkeys and the NME. The Strokes were as important in the late 90s as The Ramones were in the mid 70s and performed a very similar function; saving us from bloated music biz, wearing converse, being insanely cool etc. It's great that they've finally made their peace with being a 'big league band' and are able to put on a fantastic, stadium-packing rock show. Working, indeed, so they don't have to try so hard.

SimonHolyHoses said...

Ah you see, bands today are so processed, through the acting schools that have trained them (it's a prerequisite to getting a deal with a label) that any toys-out-of-pram-throwing that takes place is merely posing as somdomites.

They are performers, and their status depends upon pleasing the paying public, otherwise they get severe arse-bootage from all the businesses that they work for.

If they walk off, somebody has to pay for it. It takes great wealth or drugs for that to seem like a viable proposition to a performer.

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

I've had a mix of sneers and grins for me regularly playing "Is This It" but am well pleased they turned in a good show!

AnnaWaits said...

It's a brilliant album. Don't give in!

Since the gig I've played 'Room On Fire' a bit - so much better than it was given credit for.