Of all the free shows going on around Austin this week, the biggest ones can be found over at Auditorium Shores. They may not have free finger foods and booze galore, but they do have some pretty stellar acts most of the time. Case in point, last night's sundown set from The Strokes.
The band comes to town riding high on mostly- positive buzz for their new album, Angles, their first collection of new material since 2006's First Impressions Of Earth. The album leaked a few days back, giving the crowd a heads-up on potential sing-alongs. It gets it's official release this coming Tuesday.
An interesting note about Strokes fans now is that seem to be getting younger and shriller, as we stood in the photo pit and heard boys and girls on spring break scream for the band as the stage crew got the band's gear in place.
The older generation that embraced the Strokes in 2001 here at SXSW is split between eye-rolling or outright love for the band, with some seeing them as a embarrassingly quaint relic of the last decade. We just don't understand how you can grow out of a band this lovable, but then again, we own every single Dave Matthews Band album up until 2001.
The band's 17-song setlist touched on all four of the bands albums, but only got around to playing a handful of Angles cuts. The older Is This It material always wins out, with lead singer Julian Casablancas still playing the party of boozy indie lothario 13 years since their debut as good as ever. The new single "Under Cover Of Darkness" was an early highlight, translating very well live.
Some said on Twitter, that ultimate sewing circle, that the band was robotic onstage, but these guys have never been the acrobatic type live. Most of the kids complaining have only seen music videos on the Internet these past years that the band was MIA from the scene. Part of the reason that the band was so refreshing a decade ago was because they weren't clowning for 45 minutes and lighting shit on fire.
Personal Bias: The band is fluid, masterful machine when they are firing on all cylinders. Plus they introduced us to Kings Of Leon in 2003, which wasn't the death sentence that so many think it is today.
The Crowd: It was a sea of green, with most everyone spending their St. Patrick's Day with the New York band, and most likely all playing hookie from work.
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Overheard in the Crowd: "I want you so hard, Julian!" howled by a girl no older than 17.
Random Notebook Dump: Are we the only ones who think that the band sounds a lot like Big Star? Also, this week marks a year since Alex Chilton's death during SXSW.