Archive for The Strokes

SXSW: Day Two – Strokes and Wanda keep it rockin’

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2011 by 30daysout

Wanda Jackson, still knockin' em dead at age 73.

This is the 25th anniversary of South by Southwest (SXSW) and it seems like there are more people in Austin for this festival than ever before. Just about any place you want to go, anything you want to buy, anything you want to do, you have to stand in line for. Everywhere you look, there’s a line for something. Yesterday I stopped walking for a second to check my cellphone and when I looked up, a line had formed behind me.

On Thursday we finally got down to hearing some music. We caught a nice band, the Latebirds, deep in downtown. We heard the Joy Formidable (from Wales) near downtown. And we went way past downtown – south of the river – for the best stuff. Kickin’ off the morning with some metal at Emo’s for the Full Metal Texas bash, bands like Elysion Fields, Better Left Unsaid and Headcrusher (“from the hills of Colombia”) are good palate-cleansers for the smorgasbord of musical styles available here this weekend. They had metal goin’ both indoors and out at Emo’s, and inside there is a nice touch: an old gumball vending machine repurposed to sell ear plugs. Nice. And the Full Metal Texas event got more points for the free CDs, the variety of cool “metal” stickers and a virtually unwashable hand stamp. Thanks, boys.

Jack White at Waterloo Records

Then it was on to FILTER magazine’s Cedar Street Courtyard party, featuring bands with names like the Latebirds – maybe it was too early for me, but they sounded a bit generic to these ears. Meanwhile across town the venerable Waterloo Records kicked off its second day of free instores with a not-so-surprise visit from the yellow Third Man Rolling Record Store van and its genial owner, rocker Jack White. White stayed in the van spinning records while people bought Third Man product like vinyl by the Greenhornes, Wanda Jackson, the Dead Weather, the Raconteurs and of course, the White Stripes.

Synth-rockers OMD in Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop.

Seattle radio powerhouse KEXP set up inside Lance Armstrong’s bike shop for their live broadcasts, and the one we caught Thursday was by British synth-rockers Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark. Andy McCluskey (on bass and vocals) and Paul Humphreys (on synth keyboards) ran through a short sampling of their better-known tunes then settled in for a radio interview in front of a packed crowd. The dancing synth riff of “If You Leave” had me looking over my shoulder for Molly Ringwald and remembering better days for actor Jon Cryer (look it up).

One of the night’s biggest events was a free show by NYC rockers The Strokes in Auditorium Shores park. People lined up hours before the gates opened and it seems everyone wanted to see this show – in fact, organizers shut the gates once the park reached its 20,000 person capacity. But that didn’t stop the more determined outsiders; they climbed the chain-link fence and eventually knocked down the fencing.

Concertgoers near the stage were pressed flat by the crowd behind them, and many had to be lifted out by security either because they fainted or were in danger of being crushed. The Strokes, for their part, played some stuff off their new album and some of their better-known tunes including “What Ever Happened” and the new single “Under Cover Of Darkness.” Our correspondent told us “Taken For A Fool” was pretty good too. By the final notes of the concert’s concluding song “Last Nite,” a climactic blast of fireworks illuminated the sky over the park and revealed nearly half the throng had already started streaming out the exits. Austin police estimated the crowd at close to 30,000, which is the biggest show they’ve ever had at Auditorium Shores.

KXAN-TV, Austin: Fans barge Auditorium Shores concert

Hacienda tears it up at South By San Jose.

It was a more tranquil – if no less crowded – scene down on South Congress, for the excellent South by San Jose fest in the parking lot of the San Jose hotel. Thursday’s awesome lineup included San Antonio rockers Hacienda, who combine the garage rock thud of the Black Keys with a little Tex-Mex flavor (thanks to Farfisa organ fills by Abraham Villanueva). A song like the jumpy “You’re My Girl” has enough Farfisa fueled flavor to make even Sir Doug Sahm proud. Kudos also to Dante Schweibel, for playing the best guitar I’ve heard all year.

Then a couple of bright lights from the West: Vetiver, a San Francisco band had just enough Grateful Dead flashback in its music to keep things lively, particularly when earlier performers Jon Irion and Sarah Lee Guthrie (yeah, Arlo’s kid) joined ’em for a cool version of Byrd Gene Clark’s “Here Tonight.” The Cave Singers, a rockin’ trio from Seattle, had a jungle rhythm thing that made me want more, more, more. And the crowd too, even when lead shouter/maracas shaker Pete Quirk took an inadvertent plunge into the crowd. Simply great – I recommend you see The Cave Singers live as soon as you can.

Wanda Jackson, with Earl Poole Ball on piano back there.

The night ended with a stellar set by septugenarian Wanda Jackson, the rockabilly queen who was a contemporary (and probably girlfriend) of Elvis Presley. Backed by a cool rockin’ band that included guitarist Danny B. Harvey and legendary piano player Earl Poole Ball, Jackson teased and flirted with the adoring crowd with classics like “Shakin’ All Over,” “Good Rockin’ Tonight” and opener “They Called It Rockabilly Long Before They Called It Rock and Roll.”  The new stuff included a cover of Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good.”

As my friend Art would say, “Wanda is a HOOOT!” and yes, she is. Many anticipated a “surprise” visit by Jackson’s recent collaborator and producer Jack White, but he didn’t show even though Wanda teased “he’s a man of many surprises.” Unforeseen circumstances took over, and we left early to go rescue the rest of our party from the Strokes melee. And with that comes an equally unexpected end to our SXSW coverage. Sorry, but duty calls. Rock on.

The Cave Singers

The Latebirds, way too early for me.

Sarah Lee Guthrie and her husband Johnny Irion.

The Strokes, with Austin as a backdrop

This is what SXSW is all about, before the rock stars and the hipsters take over.



SXSW 2011: The Strokes to play free show in Austin

Posted in News with tags , , on February 22, 2011 by 30daysout

The Strokes at Austin City Limits Festival, 2010 (Photo by Lily Angelle)

UPDATE: Here’s a short review of the show at SXSW in Austin on March 17.

Just about six months after they headlined the Austin City Limits music festival, the NYC band The Strokes return to Austin for a free, open-to-the-public SXSW show March 17 at Auditorium Shores.

This is all courtesy of the fine folks at Levi’s, who will also provide footage of the show online one day after their performance. The New York five-piece rock band return with their highly anticipated fourth album, Angles, to be released March 22 in the United States, and March 21 in the United Kingdom.  Angles is the band’s first new release in five years, and their showcase will be their first return to SXSW since their now-legendary 2001 showcase at the Iron Cactus.

You can also catch ’em on “Saturday Night Live” March 5. – Announcement of the Strokes show

The Strokes official website

Hurry and download new single by The Strokes

Posted in News with tags on February 10, 2011 by 30daysout

New York rockers The Strokes are making their return to circulation after a five-year break between albums.  Angles, the upcoming fourth studio album from the band, is set to be released March 22, and the band is making its first single, “Under Cover Of Darkness,” available for free download.

Hurry – it will be free only until sometime tomorrow.  Click here to download the song.  If you miss the free download, “Under Cover Of Darkness” will be available to purchase digitally 0n iTunes February 15th.  And don’t look now, but they may be making an appearance at SXSW next month.

The Strokes official website

Live: Austin City Limits Festival Day One – Black Keys, Spoon & The Strokes!

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on October 8, 2010 by 30daysout


The Black Keys became a four-piece for songs from "Brothers" as the sun went down in the west


(Editor’s Note: Our Austin correspondent Lily Angelle is on the grounds at the Austin City Limits festival in Austin’s Zilker Park.  She reports that the Black Keys ruled, Spoon rocked and the Strokes redeemed themselves from Wednesday’s debacle with a rousing performance that was easily the highlight of the day.)

Our strategy on Day One was to plant in front of one stage and move up gradually, winding up right up front for the Strokes.  After their inconsiderate performance at the “pre-show” on Wednesday evening, I was ready to give Julian Casablancas and crew another chance.


Dan Auerbach


We made it up to the AMD stage on the west side of the park in enough time to catch some of John Popper and Blues Traveler, followed by a rousing set by the Black Keys.  Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney mixed it up with a variety of tunes from their entire catalog; when they played songs from Brothers, their latest album, the Keys became a four-piece that really rocked as the afternoon finally slipped behind the stage.

Former Austinites Spoon might have been a little mellow to follow the Black Keys, but they also represented their varied albums with a set that included “I Turn My Camera On” and of course, “I Summon You.”  As the ever-likeable Spoon reached the final tunes of its set it became clear the crowd was more than ready for the Strokes.  We were standing next to a couple of guys who drove eight hours from the Rio Grande valley to make Austin just in time for the front gates at ACL to open.  Naturally, they came to see the Strokes … and so did we.

Continue reading

Live: Austin City Limits Festival Preview

Posted in News with tags , , , , on October 8, 2010 by 30daysout

Not quite Woodstock - but a crowd nevertheless

Austin, Texas, hosts the big ol’ Austin City Limits festival beginning today (Friday) and ending Sunday – scheduled performers include the Black Keys, the Strokes, Muse, M.I.A., Spoon, the Eagles and many more.  Our Austin correspondent Lily Angelle is on the grounds right now, and she will send reports every night.  Hopefully she will also send along some photos that we can post intermittently over the weekend.

We already got a taste of this year’s festival with the controversial “pre-show” by the Strokes on Wednesday, and our reporter promises she will give the New Yorkers another chance when they hit the ACL stage around 8 p.m. tonight.  The Black Keys, led by Dan Auerbach, promises to be another highlight this evening.

Anyway, drop by over the weekend – we’ll update when we can.  You can catch a webcast of the music from the official festival site, and Austin radio station KUT-FM is providing wall-to-wall coverage as well.

Webcast at Austin City Limits festival site

Get yer Free ACL related MP3s from

SPIN magazine’s 10 must-hear artists at the ACL festival

SPIN magazine’s free ACL mixtape (e-mail required)

ThinkIndie’s free 2010 ACL artist sampler (registration required)

Live: The Strokes, Austin – Fail!

Posted in Review with tags , on October 7, 2010 by 30daysout


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”