Edge

The Strokes ruled Billboardlive

They came, they played… and they left. Sure, the Strokes had already conquered the audience that came to see them perform at Billboardlive well before they stepped out of their bus. Singer John Casablancas didn’t so much as utter a complete sentence without a four-letter word tucked in between, and took hold of the microphone as if he were about to fall asleep any moment.
But that’s part of the mise-en-scene that makes the Strokes all the more exciting to hear and see. The sound of their short but well-knit set, that here garnered a couple new tunes not included in their debut, but which expand their range of rhythm and melody, enraptured the packed venue.
Boys moshed close to the stage, making the security toughies frantic and overly concerned. These kids were not out to make trouble, just like the band they came to see. They body-surfed back and forth, wave after wave, and those who weren’t bouncing up and down at least banged their heads.
Anyone who’s heard a Strokes song can say that it’s a very catchy collage of 1970’s-laden punk rock. Some say it all sounds the same, but that is not precise. The fair thing to say is that each song is an angle of John Casablancas’ musical persona, and sometimes some angles seem superimposed.
But look?and listen?closer and you will notice that even his muffled voice and dejected poise are more complex than they seem. It’s a careful study in expression. He’s got IT, and doesn’t even have to try making IT in order to make his emotions come across. How many times he will be able to match this subdued energy on stage and in new compositions, is the riddle that, so far, his audience has not picked up on. But the record executives decked on the VIP lounge at Billboardlive surely staked much into whatever IT is.
We’ve heard all the naysayers claiming that the boys from the boarding school had it easy, that the collegial look and dress of the Casablancas gang is the stuff of teenage-girl morning dedication, but ask somebody sans the class-bias and jealousy, and chances are they will remark on the tightness of the group as a whole.
The guitars played by messieurs Hammond and Valensi never miss a chord, sounding full and round in tone, yielding a cascade of fast and fancy riffs. Bassist Fraiture hangs back with drummer Fabrizio Moretti and put the engine into motion so the driver, Casablancas, can careen the vehicle in fast-gear around jaw-dropping cliffs of sheer energy.
With lyrics that mix innocence, bravado and jadedness, the tunes that make up their debut album Is This It? echoed around the venue propelled by the compliant fandom present, and those who were not so familiar with the band left with at least a couple of choruses playing in their heads along with the buzz from the outrageously loud speakers.
The Strokes played all the tunes they had in about one hour and then left the stage, prompting many in their audience to ask: “Is this It”?
Brazilian drummer Moretti still managed to throw in a solo performance, sipping from and handing out a beer bottle to the audience; he then threw himself onto the throng, only to be restored back onstage and into the paws of a misguided security honcho.
Yes, that was It.
And it is up to define the elusive pronoun.

January 25, 2002

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It was maybe coincidence, but positioned just behind his left shoulder as Tyrique Stevenson spoke ab ...

The Miami Hurricanes unveiled a new turnover chain this season, replacing the bedazzled “U” that han ...

Before now, the last time the Miami Hurricanes scored 21 or fewer points in four consecutive games w ...

Keontra Smith waited a long time for the Miami Hurricnaes to finally offer him. The defensive back g ...

University of Miami true freshman running back Cam’ron Davis, known as Cam for short, is about to lo ...

A UM researcher is helping to lead a study on how smoke interacts with clouds and its impact on the ...

People are bombarded with news and information these days, providing opportunities for discourse tha ...

Students, faculty and staff stopped by the School of Architecture’s Korach Gallery to learn what Mag ...

The On Campus event featured innovative National Geographic Explorers—photographers, scientists, sto ...

UM Professor of Law Frances R. Hill tells us what we should know. ...

The No. 24 Miami women's basketball team is headed to Iowa State for the Preseason WNIT champio ...

The Canes hit the road for the final time in the 2018 regular season and it is to a familiar and hos ...

The Canes top the Golden Eagles to move onto the WNIT Championship game. ...

Miami wraps up its season-opening homestand with a 2 p.m. Saturday matchup against Bethune-Cookman a ...

University of Miami head golf coach Patti Rizzo announced Thursday the signing of three golfers to N ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.