Live: The Strokes, Austin – Fail!

 

Drummer's girlfriend Binki Shapiro got to hang on to her camera, and this is the best she could do.

 

(Editor’s Note: Our Austin correspondent Lily Angelle opens her coverage of the Austin City Limits Festival by attending a “pre-show” by The Strokes Wednesday … there were no freebies to the local media, so no press and no professional photographers on hand.  Our intrepid correspondent paid $75 for her ticket, and needless to say, she was slightly disappointed.)

Many will agree that The Strokes’ ACL pre-show at Stubb’s BBQ last night did not meet expectations – what an understatement!  The band has been on hiatus for about five years now, so the announcement of their tour came as a pleasant surprise to fans.

The Strokes signed to play the big Austin City Limits Festival this weekend, as well as a warmup pre-show at the Stubb’s Barbecue outdoor arena.  We patiently awaited their visit to Austin  just to be met with severe disappointment after last night’s mediocre performance Wednesday night.

I arrived at the venue two hours before the gates opened only to find a line already wrapped around the building.  I took my place and began fiddling with my camera, adjusting the settings and preparing it to take some great close-ups of Julian Casablancas.  A Stubb’s employee saw me and said no cameras were allowed into the venue whatsoever. What’s up with that?

 

Over the edge on Stubb's VIP balcony - another photo from Binki's Twitpic site

 

As people passed through security, bags were checked for cameras.  People were forced to take their cameras back to their cars;  I had taken the bus so I quickly shoved my camera into my shirt and passed through security, who, by the way, treat concert-goers as if they were loading livestock for the slaughterhouse.

The Strokes finally made their appearance onstage two hours after the gates opened, and two hours is a long time to stand in a crowd of overly excited high school kids, and the fact that there was no opening act only made things worse.

So, finally … the Strokes.  After making the crowd wait for two hours, they played a 45-minute set!  With a break!  Are you kidding?  (Wait, I’m not kidding.)  Granted, the music was phenomenal and they played most of their well-known songs (but nothing new).  However, for the amount of time and money fans put up to see The Strokes, we were definitely left out to dry.  Everyone felt gypped. People I talked to after the show felt as if the band treated the performance as just a practice for their ACL appearance on Friday.

The last humongous problem was the venue itself.  Security did a terrible job at maintaining order and controlling the “mosh pit.”  One guy fainted before the show even began, and it took security a good five minutes before they came to take him to safety.  About a quarter of the way into the show, a guy in the VIP section apparently had a seizure from the flashing stage lights and fell over the stairwell.  He was left dangling, with his pants falling down, for at least three minutes before security managed to pull him back up over the stairwell.

I managed to stay in the mosh pit for only three songs before having to be pulled out.  Worrying about having your internal organs crushed really deflects attention away from what you came there to see.  I finally managed to find a halfway decent place way in the back, and during my search for a spot where I could see the stage I missed my favorite song, “You Only Live Once.”

After the show I made my way to the stage to get a picture of the drum kit.  Devoted fans stood there booing and cursing the band, flabbergasted that The Strokes did not even reappear onstage for an encore after their short set.

Even though I did witness a great rock band play Wednesday night, it was not at the right place and it completely lacked “magic.”

UPDATE: The Strokes redeemed themselves with their opening night performance at Austin City Limits festival.

YouTube: The Strokes at Stubb’s doing “Someday”

YouTube:  “You Only Live Once”

13 Responses to “Live: The Strokes, Austin – Fail!”

  1. Sorry to hear of the bad experience, but they’re a really fucking mediocre band, obviously charging too much money, making sure the security folks act like Nazis…fuck ’em. I’d rather pay money to see ABBA.

  2. 30daysout Says:

    I suppose I should add, tickets were $55 face value but they sold out in a matter of hours. There were some last-minute tickets released on show day, although our Austin correspondent bought her ticket on StubHub.

  3. Eric, If you think they’re mediocre, that’s your opinion, it’s fine and I could care less, but to say a band purposely asked the security to treat their fans like “nazis” is one of the stupidest things I’ve read. Their tickets sold out in a matter of minutes not hours so if there were that many people who paid between 50 and 80 bucks for it it was priced just right. The crowd at their shows are always crazy, they always try to out sing Julian, are always pushing forward in order to get a closer look at them, crazy moshes, and a lot of people get squished and faint, nothing new really. I have read many people complaining at how short it was, but then again if you’re complaining that it was too short it’s probably because they liked it enough to want it to go on longer. BTW they have been in exile for 3 years not 5.

  4. Nice job! The writing gene appears to have been passed on.

  5. Am I seriously the ONLY hard-core Strokes fan left?@#?!? I did the same as the aforementioned, and I also DROVE 1100 miles across this great country to do it. And all this is AFTER I seen them a Lollapalooza in August. And I would do it i all over again. In a heartbeat. An insightful man said; “You only live once” so we may as well spend that time doing what we love. For me, it’s The STROKES. So in closing, if you are THAT pissed off, maybe you should re-evaluate your dedication to the NYC natives and quit calling yourself a fan. Me, well its time for me to get ready for ACL.

  6. 30daysout Says:

    Now I didn’t attend nor am I that great a fan of the Strokes, but … making people pay upwards of 50 bucks and wait two hours plus for a 45-minute show seems like a crappy way to treat anyone, fans or not.

  7. I AM A HARDCORE STROKES FAN!!! And I would have been a lil pissed also if they only played for 45 mins after the effort it took to see them. Given they are one of the most influential rock bands in the past ten years, being able to see them for $50-$80 really is not that crazy… I just paid $71 for a ticket to see Kings of Leon in Madison Square Garden 11/16. I was about to make the drive from NJ to Chicago to see The Strokes at Lolla but due to lack of funds i had to abort my journey. If i was in the area I would have gladly paid the $$$ and endured the wait for The Strokes warm-up show/pre show. Complain about the moshing and crowd intensity sounds rather silly to me… I would have been all up in the pit, many people who make their way up front don’t belong because they cant handle the environment. Don’t blame The Strokes for the shitty security blame the venue. When it all comes down to it I’m sure a large majority of the audience enjoyed the performance and will never forget it… Wish I could have been there…

  8. Sean Mathis Says:

    I was there and while I was also thoroughly disappointed by the brevity of the show, it was not 45 minutes. They started a couple minutes after 9 and ended at 10:10. Yes there was about a 5 minute break just before 10, but we’re looking at closer to 70 minutes than 45. If you’re going to have a blog, you should be rigorous about your duty to report the truth with integrity and accuracy.

  9. 30daysout Says:

    If it was that long, Sean, why do you call it brief and why were you disappointed? Even the Austin Statesman reported the show at about 45 minutes … http://www.austin360.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/music/entries/acl_2010_friday/

    We’ll stick with our clock, thanks.

  10. 30daysout Says:

    Thanks Stefan, glad you like it. We try to be interesting every time we post!

  11. Yeah I know this is a late reply, but hear me out. I was overall satisfied with the pre-show. I’ve been to many concerts, being as I live in Austin, and did not find the security acting like Nazi’s. Many shows are like that, so you can’t complain about the workers, they are just doing what they are told. As for the so called “brevity” of the show, it was not 45 minutes long. Take all the setlist songs and put them on a playlist. It would have a runtime of around 44 minutes. In live shows some songs are sped up while others are slowed down. In the Strokes case they are lengthen due to Nick Valensi’s improv solos. Plus with those 30 sec. breaks in between songs and the 5 min encore break you end up with more of an hour long show which is no unheard of. Plus this a PRE-SHOW, not the actual show, so it’s expected to be shorter.

  12. I was overall satisfied with the pre-show. I’ve been to many concerts, being as I live in Austin, and did not find the security acting like Nazi’s. Many shows are like that, so you can’t complain about the workers, they are just doing what they are told. As for the so called “brevity” of the show, it was not 45 minutes long. Take all the setlist songs and put them on a playlist. It would have a runtime of around 44 minutes. In live shows some songs are sped up while others are slowed down. In the Strokes case they are lengthen due to Nick Valensi’s improv solos. Plus with those 30 sec. breaks in between songs and the 5 min encore break you end up with more of an hour long show which is no unheard of. Plus this a PRE-SHOW, not the actual show, so it’s expected to be shorter.

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