Saturday, August 7, 2010

Lollapalooza 2010 day one: The Strokes

The Strokes from afar (photo:Windy City Rock)
At the end of a great first day at Lolla, it all came down to one important decision: see The Strokes or see Lady Gaga. As a longtime fan of The Stokes I initially gravitated toward them, but was more than a bit tempted to check out what kind of spectacle the pop megastar would put on. Luckily, Gaga's headlining set started 30 minutes earlier than that of The Strokes on the other end of the festival, so curious onlookers like myself could take in a few of her songs before having to hoof it over to Julian Casablancas and company.

Susan goes into more detail on Gaga's performance in her day one Lolla post, but the small portion of the set that I was able to catch was, well, totally lame. I don't know if things got more exciting as the performance went on, but what I saw looked like not much more than a cheesy Madonna tribute show on a cruise ship (the songs weren't actually Madonna's, but they may just as well have been). It made my decision to leave and watch The Strokes at 8:30 pretty damn easy.

The New York City rockers delivered an enjoyable set, as expected. Having seen the band live twice, they didn't really bring anything new to the table and aren't ones for showmanship, but they sounded great and played a strong setlist, which leaned heavily on their revered debut, Is This It?.

Part of the band's charm is that they convey everything that's always stood out about NYC rock and roll bands such as The Velvet Underground, Blondie and the Ramones to a new generation. There's an icy aloofness about them, a nonchalant air of cool that Casablancas, in particular, pulls off perfectly. "This is our first show in the states in like, forever," observed the frontman in the middle of the set. Then, after a few seconds at a loss for anything to follow it up with: "That's all I got." It's the kind of thing that would make it tough not to be on their side, as was their decision not to go through the charade of coming out for an encore - they just played their set all the way through, ending with "Take It or Leave It."

All the songs people wanted to hear were played: "Last Nite," "Someday," "Reptilia," "Hard to Explain," "You Only Live Once" and other favorites. One pleasant surprise was the soulful album track "Under Control" off the band's sophomore record, Room on Fire, near the end of the set. I only wish they would have played some new songs from their supposed upcoming fourth LP, but that's a minor gripe and new material never seems to go over as well as the old stuff when playing to a festival full of casual fans and non-fans, anyway.

The Strokes were a satisfying conclusion to day one. Now on to day two. Keep your eyes right here to get the scoop on Saturday's festivities!

The Strokes setlist
1. New York City Cops
2. The Modern Age
3. Hard to Explain
4. What Ever Happened
5. You Only Live Once
6. Soma
7. Is This It
8. Vision of Division
9. I Can't Win
10. Reptilia
11. Last Nite
12. Juicebox
13. Someday
14. Under Control
15. Heart in a Cage
16. Take It or Leave It

No comments:

Post a Comment