I love rock 'n' roll, but I’m tired of having to look in the rear view mirror to get it, so I sift through the myriad bands that pitch it retro and throwback -- bands that sort of lose the point as they wallow in cliché.
Few bands the world over get it right, so when one comes along I’m a tad apprehensive. I’ve been hurt before, you see. My wife and I figured we’d give English rockers The Struts a shot Saturday night in the basement venue of the Main Street Armory. Let me say right off, this is a great venue with hints at the Penny Arcade or Scorgies. It's got a stripped-down underground appeal, and the sound was infinitely more discernible without threatening the volume.
The show was uncharacteristically on time, so we missed the two warm-up acts. The crowd of roughly 500 was a pogo stick parade with its hands in the air as The Struts sashayed onto the stage and rocked it hard for a good 90 minutes. The room was clearly filled with fans as the prompts for sing-alongs were answered thunderously.
The band was a mix of glam rock aesthetic with nods to Nazareth, Humble Pie, Aerosmith, Queen -- singer Luke Spiller looks a lot like Mr. Mercury, and he's employed Mercury’s seamstress, Zandra Rhodes, to design his onstage threads -- and dips into more contemporary waters, like Oasis. Adam Slack’s guitar playing was tastefully refined with riffs-o-plenty.
The band didn’t over perform it, despite Spiller’s costume changes and drunken marionette dance moves, and delivered some incredible, in-the-the pocket rock that seems to be coming straight at us, not from behind.