The Struts at the Roxy, West Hollywood on June 1st, 2018
Photos Courtesy: Steve Rose (Goldenvoice)
There’s an ongoing debate that Rock N’ Roll is dead or at least that it’s on life support. If there is any validity to that statement, then a band like The Struts could possibly play a major role in its resurrection. They’re young, energetic and they put on one extremely fun show.
I first became aware of The Struts in 2014, when they released their debut album “Everybody Wants” in the United Kingdom. I immediately found the band’s sound interesting and very reminiscent of British Glam Rock from the early 1970’s. Bands like Slade, Sweet and Mott the Hoople just to name a few. I immediately fell in love with their album and the band’s image. Thanks to YouTube I discovered that they made some great videos as well. In 2016, the band released their debut album in America and they have consistently been touring the States for the past three years.
Their four sold out shows at the legendary Roxy Club in West Hollywood is evident that America has become aware of this band and their fantastic live performances. They opened their set with “Put Your Hands Up” from their forthcoming and much awaited sophomore release. This was a gutsy move by the band but they took to the stage like seasoned professionals. The set was well balanced with both old and new material and the band never took their foot off of the gas pedal.
This leads me to touch on one highly notable exception for The Struts. They put on one of the best shows of any band currently in Rock N’ Roll. Lead vocalist, Luke Spillar is one of the most charismatic front men to come along in over forty years. He works hard to entertain the crowd and he never lets up. The other members of The Struts, guitarist Adam Slack, bassist Jed Elliott and drummer Gethin Davies are solid. It’s evident that this bands constant touring schedule has made them seasoned pros.
The audience participation is constant throughout the performance. The entire Roxy crowd knew the lyrics to most of the songs and they were loud and enthusiastic. Highlights were “One Night Only” (their current single), “Put Your Money On Me” and “These Times Are Changing.” I really enjoyed some of the new material like “Body Talks,” and “Primadonna Like Me.”
After a blistering one hour set, the band returned to the stage for another thirty minutes of encores. This included a rousing rendition of “Dancing In The Dark” by Bruce Springsteen (which featured an appearance from Steel Panther’s, Michael Starr) and David Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel” which featured a guest appearance by bassist Randy Jackson of American Idol fame. They closed the night with the much anticipated “Could Have Been Me” and “Where Did She Go,” which drove the crowd into a frenzy.
The Struts are one of the best shows I’ve seen since the 1970’s and I’ve been fortunate to see some of the greatest bands like Queen, Rolling Stones, Kiss and Led Zeppelin in their prime. Spillar has pulled from the best like Freddie Mercury, Rod Stewart and Mick Jagger. He’s a natural performer who literally walks off stage drenched in sweat. He cares about his audience and he definitely gives them their money’s worth. The band writes songs that are easily identifiable and they know what their fan base wants to hear and see from the band. They are fun and love to entertain a crowd. Combine that with radio friendly material and you have a formula for success. If Rock N’ Roll is still going strong in ten years, then I predict The Struts will be legends.