Written by Samuel Barker
Mar 15, 2006 at 08:00 PM
ImageFor a band that was viewed as a fad band way back in late 2001, The Strokes have proven an amazing ability to keep their sound fresh and their shows sold out.

With their latest trip to the Verizon Wireless Theater, the band was promoting their new release, First Impressions of Earth. The album took the sound the band was experimenting with on Room on Fire, filtered out all the excess and left what might be their most solid release to date. This is 4 years after the fad was supposed to fade.

The first thing you notice about the band is that they’ve figured out how to compensate for vocalist Julian Casablancas’ and bassist Nikolai Fraiture’s lack of movement on stage. The band brought a killer backing light show on the road with them, which brought the stage to life. Also, guitarist Nick Valensi has finally grown into his position as the lead guitarist of the band. While Albert Hammond, Jr. still leads through the material from Is This It?, Valensi takes position at the front of the stage for all the other songs to deliver the solos and give some flair to the band’s show.

Valensi even took a moment to play organ on a duet with just he and Casablancas for the new track Ask Me Anything. The showmanship the band has brought with them shows their staying power. From the awkward group of kids who stood like junior high kids on stage at a talent show to the veteran rockers they are today, The Strokes have survived it all.

And rather than turn you off with rock star swagger, The Strokes have Casablancas who still appears to be in awe of the audiences and the fact the band is even performing after all these years. A child-like recoil was his first movements upon taking the stage and he held the mic stand, the only security blanket the stage offers, like a dear friend who he’s depended on for years.

This keeps the band feeling like real people who make music that you can’t help but be moved by. After all these years, Is This It? remains a favorite album in my rotation. You just can’t beat the sound and the fact that they’ve kept it up for 3 albums now is astonishing. This is one of the few bands you can put all their CDs in, hit shuffle and never be let down for a single song. Just damn good rock n’ roll music.

Opening the show was The Eagles of Death Metal, who neither sound like the Eagles nor Death Metal. Instead, they capture a rock sound that has seemed to fall by the wayside in recent years. Of course, having your drummer be Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age doesn’t hurt in finding listeners either.

With a vocalist/guitarist (Jesse Hughes) who looks like he should be rolling around town in a Trans Am looking for underage chicks, everything is perfect in the world for this band and about this band. Infectuous riffage, for this night at least, duel drum assault and some killer songs made the set slay.

Apparently, this was one of the few dates Homme has stopped on to play, and having never seen them without him, I can make no real comparison, but the duel drums made the sound huge and showed that drums are probably the most vital instrument in rock music. It got the ladies dancing, the guys staring at them and the thoughts of sex running through all their minds…that’s what rock n’ roll is supposed to do. Bless the Eagles of Death Metal for being a great rock n’ roll band.

Til next time…