LIVE REVIEW: Derbyshire’s The Struts put on a musical fireworks show at Paradise Rock Club
Last night was a night for the books! Fresh off their time on the road with the legendary Foo Fighters, The Struts are ensuring that they follow the same route and if last night’s crowd was any indication of what they’ve achieved, it’s only going to go up from here. With a packed crowd of everything from some incredibly polite kids with their parents to many a Foo shirt being worn, the night seemed bright from the very beginning. Before we dove into an insane set from The Struts, the crowd was warmed up just right by the two opening acts, Spirit Animal and White Reaper, who each brought something completely different to the table.
With NYC’s Spirit Animal being the first to grace the famed Paradise stage, they took the crowd on a journey that brought acts like Franz Ferdinand to mind. While the set was clearly practiced and the crowd was feeling on the band, it honestly felt a little too safe for my liking. While there were moments that really stood out to me like the opening track, “The Train”, as well as “World War Four”, the band’s vibes felt a little out of place on the tour and could likely be a great fit on a more mainstream rock tour. Still, the band was a solid warm up to the night to come.
White Reaper on the other hand? The seemingly perfect act to open for The Struts. The crowd was bobbing their heads every second of the set and had cheers for them to come on before the band even took the stage. With an incredible vocal range from lead vocalist Tony Esposito and insane chemistry from the band, the crowd completely ate them up. They were so polished and screamed total pro’s. They made the set seem effortless and ran their way through an impressive amount of tracks for a main support slot. They just went from track to track without a word and the crowd was in love with it. Definite highlights were ‘Make Me Wanna Die’ and the sweet lyrics wrapped in punk rock jams.
Last up was the band the crowd has been cheering for all night, The Struts. From the second the band took the stage with the opener being ‘Primadonna like Me’ and quickly transitioning into ‘Body Talks’, the fun didn’t stop. From frontman Luke Spiller’s wit and engagement with the crowd to the around four costume changes he went through during the tight 100 minute or so set. Spiller wasn’t afraid to lay it out for the crowd including saying ‘Ladies and gentleman, if you aren’t ready to sing, if you aren’t ready to dance, you can just fucking go out the exit’, before the band jumped into ‘Kiss This’.
As the band progressed through their set they played a great mix of the old and the new featuring several tracks of the sophomore album, ‘Young and Dangerous’, dropping October 26th on Polydor. Included in the list was ‘Fire’, ‘People’ and the lead single for the new record ‘Bulletproof Baby’. Which Spiller commented on mentioning that he had read some of the comments on Spotify that were pretty negative including saying the track was over produced, not rock ‘n’ roll anymore, to which Spiller responded live ‘First off, no one tells me what I can or can’t fucking do’. With the crowd cheering and singing the song as the band rocked it, it’s clear the former is not the truth for fans of the band.
While Spiller was changing costumes or not playing around with the crowd, the other three fourths of the band, Jed Elliot on bass, Adam Slack on guitar and Gethin Davies on drums had their chance to shine in huge solos, instrumental battles with each other on stage and got huge roars of applause from the crowd. The appreciation shown through when Spiller tried to introduce the band and before he could even say the bassists’ name the crowd went wild for him and then while introducing Davies, he proclaimed ‘He’s the man in the seat, who sets the beat, who makes you fucking move your feet’.
An especially bright moment in the set when the band covered ‘Dancing in the Dark’ by Bruce Springsteen and Spiller called for a real life Courtney Cox to come on stage to sing with him. That lucky fan Spiller picked out of the crowd? Fifteen year old Hannah who went on to the stage with a running start hugging Spiller. Hannah was hosted on stage for at least five minutes and I’m sure had a once in a life time experience. Encouraging her to follow his lead, she knew all the parts and did a ‘Ozzy Osborne Black Sabbath’ type of warming up the crowd before going off stage.
With the encore including a different side of Spiller on the keys in the slowest moments of the night, the band ended the shattering night with the debut single for the band in the states, ‘Could Have Been Me’. Kind of similar to the fact that Fall Out Boy always ends on ‘Saturday’ which was off their first EP, I feel it may be a similar situation for The Struts who have definitely put in the time to get to the point where they are today. We all know that this band is only going to go up from here and could easily be one of those iconic bands we’re talking about in a few years!