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Concert Reviews:
Strokes Singer Brings The Noise To Saint Andrews

of the Oakland Press

Posted: Tuesday, April 6, 2010

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DETROIT -- Julian Casablancas brought the noise to town on Monday (April 5) -- in a big, loud and, unfortunately, damaging manner at Saint Andrews Hall.

Already facing a small (less than half-full) crowd impatient from a 65-minute wait after opening act Funeral Party, the Strokes frontman and his six-member band launched into their 55-minute, 11-song set seemingly determined to blow off the doors, the roof and anything else not cemented into place with sheer volume and a full-throttled mix that subsumed the nuanced melodicism of the songs from Casablancas' fine solo debut, "Phrazes For the Young." His singing was only discernible on a handful of quieter songs -- including "Glass," the opening portion of "4 Chords of the Apocalypse" and the 2006 Strokes B-side "I'll Try Anything Once" -- and was otherwise buried deep within a wall of molten instrumental cacophony on "River of Brakelights," "Out of the Blue," "Left and Right in the Dark" and the appropriately titled, unreleased show opener "New One."

Some of the louder moments worked better than others. The country-flavored "Ludlow St." -- which Casablancas, dimly lit throughout the night, dubbed "the most undanceable song ever" -- was an interesting bit of creative stretching, while the fans sang along to "Hard To Explain," the other Strokes song in the set, and bopped to the concert-closing rendition of the "Saturday Night Live" ditty "I Wish it Was Christmas Today." ("Tourist," which has closed many of Casablancas' solo shows, was a set list option he chose not to exercise.)

Casablancas has certainly been a first among equals in the Strokes , and "Phrazes..." only affirmed his unique rock 'n' roll abilities. But Monday's show simply didn't do justice to his talent, further stoking anticipation for this year's renewed Strokes renewal.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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