The Strokes - Manchester Apollo Theatre - 31.01.06

You would certainly have been excused for thinking that the crowd would be one in which the pit was as mild as a korma, given the number of ultra-cool; “Don’t Touch the leather man”, crew who attach themselves to The Strokes. However, right from the opening notes of the gritty and grinding debut album dazzler; ‘The Modern Age’ the pit became as rambunctious as a Charlotte Church house party.

There has been a great deal of comment about the lush recording of the recent ‘First Impressions Of Earth’ full length parade that gave The Strokes a more polished feel. However, numbers like ‘Juicebox’, ‘Heart In A Cage’ and ‘You Only Live Once’ were reeled off with fiery buoyancy to give them a rougher cut. The surprise sound of the evening was the compelling push given to second album gem; ’12;51’ that was growled out in a throaty manner by a laid back Julian Casablancas.

The mid-set double whammy of ‘Last Night’ and Hard To Explain’ made it clear that the fans’ loyalties still lie firmly in bed with the debut album corkers. The tightness of the musicians that saw the cantering guitar riffs, cutting bass lines and the driving percussion all gelling together rhythmically like a ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ threesome, blended into every single track played. This element made the set look effortless and mighty easy, but you can tell that The Strokes have dug really deep to maintain this tightness, through some worrying times. The free spirited ‘Take It Or Leave It’ made sure that the intense crowd enthusiasm never waned even towards to end of a gripping 90 minute plus frolic.

Words: David Adair
Photos: Karen McBride

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