Different Strokes?

The Strokes and Wolfmother at the Bank of America Pavilion, September 13, 2006
By WILL SPITZ  |  September 18, 2006

I feel bad for Julian Casablancas, as strange as that may sound. Hastily tagged a rock ’n’ roll savior following the success of his band the Strokes’ debut, Is This It, he faced immense pressure to live up to a promise exaggerated by the media. When it came time for a follow-up, rather than taking a cue from his hero Kurt Cobain and making his own In Utero, Casablancas took the safe route and essentially re-wrote the first album. On their third effort, this year’s First Impressions of Earth (RCA), the Strokes sound like a band desperately trying to “evolve” or “mature,” overreaching to respond to the cries of “This is it all over again” that greeted Room on Fire. And despite the love that last night’s Bank of America Pavilion crowd showed him — people sang and danced and screamed at the start and end of all 20 songs the band squeezed into their 80-minute set — Casablancas was sheepish, repeatedly murmuring: “I hope you’re having fun . . . You’re going to get sick of us.” And yeah, the show was nearly indistinguishable from the one at Agganis Arena in April (save for an enjoyable take on Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” during the encore) — heavy on the first album and First Impressions, faithful to the recorded versions of the songs, laid back but with the guitars nice and loud. But truth is, we were having fun.

On the other hand, I did not have fun watching openers Wolfmother, who played retro-style cock rock — complete with sub-Plant falsetto histrionics, by-the-numbers hard rock riffs and solos, and plenty of posing, like they didn’t know there’s been new music since 1975. The fact that shit like this still goes on — and that people absolutely eat it up — more than 20 years after This Is Spinal Tap is mind-boggling.

Ize of the World
The Way It Is
Red Light
The Modern Age
Heart in a Cage
Killing Lies
You Only Live Once
New YorkCityCops
Is This It
Hard to Explain
Last Nite
Ask Me Anything
Vision of Division

Barely Legal
Walk on the Wild Side
Take It or Leave It

Related: Stroke of genius, Third impressions, Prep rally, More more >
  Topics: Live Reviews , Celebrity News, Entertainment, Music Stars,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   WORLDS COLLIDE  |  February 03, 2009
    A week ago Wednesday and Thursday, a curious collection of young scruffy indie kids and older scruffy MIT eggheads converged on the school's Broad Institute for two nights of free music, art, and lecture dubbed "Darkness Visible."
  •   GONE, BABY, GONE  |  January 09, 2009
    Boston bids farewell to one of its brightest spots — the row of six diverse and delectable restaurants on Peterborough Street that were consumed by a four-alarm fire early Tuesday morning.
  •   A FLAIR FOR THE DRAMA  |  January 09, 2009
    "There's not enough hype in the world for Glasvegas," old reliable hypemonger NME recently proclaimed. But that doesn't mean the magazine and the rest of the British music press aren't trying.
  •   FANS CHEER; EARTH WEEPS  |  August 19, 2008
    It’s a bummer that the four-plus hours I spent in my car feeling guilty about barfing loads of carbon into the air is most salient in my mind, because, as always, Radiohead delivered an awe-inspiring show.
  •   LAUGH AT THE END OF THE WORLD  |  August 19, 2008
    The two guys who make up Clawjob have an unnerving tendency to describe something as funny when it’s anything but.

 See all articles by: WILL SPITZ