Live Review: The Strokes // Roundhouse, London – 19.02.20

Julian Casablancas and his bandmates are not your average group, and we should all know that by now.

Since his time with The Voidz, Casablancas appears to favour intimate venues – a tradition that is perpetuated by the booking of this Roundhouse show – an undersell for a band the size of The Strokes.

It’s no secret that the relationship between Casablancas and his bandmates was strained, which was most probably the reason it took them seven years to release a new album. Now that the band is finally back together, Julian, Albert, Nick, Fabrizio and Nikolai seem to be taking things cautiously.

Having already released two new singles, the Strokes made their comeback in London last summer, with their headline show at All Points East Festival. Inside the venue, you could feel the impatience and the excitement in the crowd. There was this feeling in the air that this time, they will be different. And they were. As the band appeared on stage, the crowd went wild. Hitting the ground running with ‘Someday’, it was obvious, straight away; The Strokes were back.

“Good old London town,” Casablancas says with a smile. “America had no love for us back then,” he added. “Only the sharp minds of the British could understand the nuances of our music.” It’s true, London indeed has been the home for bands who were being recognised way later than they should. The Killers, Cage The Elephant, and of course The Strokes all found their stride here before garnering success back home.

This show feels like home for all of us. It does feel, for a moment, that everything is ok and we were still allowed to party and laugh and fall in love. Trying to balance on a string between their past and their future – having embraced their present, their arguments, and their shared love for what they are doing – The Strokes seemed to have their chemistry back. It may take more than we expected, but at least it is here again.

“I am having a selfishly good time,” Casablancas told the crowd. And the crowd seem to mirror the sentiment. We are all having a great time, it’s not selfish at all. Still being able to have a good time at a concert, it’s a necessity, not selfishness. Yesterday, time stopped for two hours. Yesterday we had a good time. And the Strokes are the one to thank for it.

Author avatar
Nikos Papanikolaou

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