Review of their gig in the Olympia Theatre, Dublin, March 31st 2002
It's Easter Sunday 2002 and everyone in the Olympia - it would seem - has consumed too many eggs. So with too many calories to burn all are pumped up for an evening of sweaty rock n' roll. So enter stage-left the Strokes, New York's newest and hippest offering to rock music. These guys have come a long way in a short time picking up several admirers among critics in the music press (and a few models too allegedly). So down the road, turn left at the Pixies, hang a right at Iggy Pop and arrive at The Strokes; one of Dublin's most eagerly anticipated gigs of the year so far.
But first of all there the warm-up act. The Strokes have chosen Long Wave, a relatively unknown (and fellow New York) act to kick the night off. Long Wave opened sounding suspiciously like an over-amped and over-driven U2, capitalised with excellent lead guitar. Long Wave did everything right except turn up the vocals a little. It was a set the crowd enjoyed and at the end of the slot they disarmed themselves of their instruments before - as any true rock band worth their salt would do - flinging them into the amps.
Next up were "Stereo Total", a supposedly French import. A two-piece, they consisted of a female vocalist (and very capable drummer, especially considering she had only one drum and 2 cymbals) and a male keyboardist/guitarist who seemed more concerned with entertaining / dancing wildly / taking the piss (your choice). Assisted pretty obviously by pre-recorded backing tracks, these two were little more than a comedy act, but achieved pretty much what they set out to do.
The audience at this stage were pretty hyped up, and at the end of a rather prolonged wait, The Strokes finally took the stage. They kicked in with a blazing intro including "Modern Age" among the starting highlights. Hammond and Valensi's guitar collaboration was obviously key, Fraiture's throbbing bass was constant and effective while lead singer Casablanca remained consistent and brash all the way through. .
Their set was pretty much their entire album, including the excellent "New York City Cops" (remind me to go see the White Stripes gig next month) and "Hard To Explain". It was towards the end when they finally delivered what most of the crowd were really looking for - 'Last Nite' - and suddenly Casablanca found himself singing with countless backing vocals as everyone got to their feet for the song. With the crowd at their peak, the Strokes finished off the show with the final track on their album, "Take It Or Leave It". No encores, but it mattered little.
If anything, this show proves the the Strokes are clearly enjoying their day in the sun, for however long it lasts. This was the final leg of the Strokes' European tour. A shame, as what an excellent slot they would be in the up-coming Witnness festival in July. That said, one wonders (after this gig) what effect the Strokes would have on a multi-thousand outdoor crowd, considering the entertainment factor they provided to an indoor, somewhat claustrophobic audience in the Olympia theatre. The only way to find out is to follow the Strokes' movements over the following months. May another fulfilling album and tour be with us soon from the master Strokes.