Anyone that knows me would probably know I was particularly stoked about seeing The Struts up close and personal. It was up close! Close to enough to touch, and I think that anyone who attended the show would be less than truthful if they said that they were left with anything but the feeling of a personal experience.
Such is the charisma and confidence of these young lads, led by none other than singer and performer extraordinaire, Luke Spiller. The man is simply a master in front of a crowd of eager and adoring fans hungry for a vibe of yesteryear and a glimpse at what glam rock once may have been. Most in attendance were too young to have truly experienced glam in its’ origins but Spiller made no mistake in spelling out what it means to The Struts. Avant garde to an extreme, Spiller commanded the willing audience from the moment the band took the stage. It was, in fact, as if he were orchestrating the participation of all present to the symphony of The Struts’ set list. Magnificent! He had the raucous crowd singing along, clapping, jumping, not to mention sitting on the floor while he prowled through the audience eliciting cat-calls and the like from the females in attendance. At one point he had the crowd so on the end of his finger that he wound the place down to dead silence, the only thing audible being his respirations as he breathed seductively into his microphone. It truly was an extremely personal performance from Luke Spiller
Then there was the music!! Pardon me, but I just had to get my praise of the theatrics off my chest…
Opener Andrew Watt and his band of badass rockers served their duty perfectly and had the crowd more than ready for the headliners. Watts’ latest single, “Ghost In My Head” was a crowd-pleaser and the extended cover versions of “War Pigs” and “Whole Lotta Love” was a tasty treat. For this reviewer, it’s hard to argue with Sabbath and/ or Zeppelin covers performed with the angst and authenticity that Watt and his entourage provided. Bravo…
Spiller and Struts co-founder and guitarist, Adam Slack, have an obvious gift and sentiment towards writing pop music as we used to know it. As any history lesson in popular music would tell us, the great writers have a knack of coupling a hook with a phrase and creating magic in the result and these 2 have teamed up to create something special. All of the songs that the band performed follow a somewhat similar structure as one might expect. Their songs remind the listener of some early Queen numbers, again, as one might expect. I hear Oasis influences as well and comparisons could easily be drawn to The Rolling Stones as well as other popular songwriting teams from over the last 30 years. Several songs contain a very anthemic element, the most notable being “It Could Have Been Me”. The vocal audience drowned the band out during the chorus of this popular number. The lyrics of this hit embody the attitude of the band. The message is to live life to its’ fullest and experience the riches it has to offer or you’ll find yourself lamenting lost opportunities and realizing that it really could have been you had you taken the right steps. Fantastic motivational lyrics. Other gems included “Kiss This”, “Dirty Sexy Money”, “Roll Up”, “Where Did She Go” and, my personal favorite, “Put Your Money On Me”. This band of rock n rollers, filled out by Jed Elliot on bass guitar and Gethin Davies on drums really do get quite a groove on and along with Spiller’s spectacular lead vocals, the 3 instrumentalists provide a chorus of shimmering harmony vocals that complete their slick presentation.
All in all, a most impressive show at a time in their career when they are at their hungriest. They can see stardom on the horizon and they apparently have the guts and the goods to get there. But, it’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock n roll…
Good luck, boys.
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written by Gregory Nott