Auditorium Shores – The Strokes and Twin Shadow
words and photos by Andy Pareti
The Strokes are suddenly finding that they are the next big thing for the second time in their career, so it’s only natural they became the focal point of SXSW’s concerts (that is, until Kanye West showed up).
A somewhat curious choice to open for the indie rock pioneers, NYC’s Twin Shadow offered a set based firmly on sound musicianship without a whole lot of innovation. The band plays hard and precise, especially for new wave revivalists, but one can’t help but think, especially during a week like this, that the black leather jacket and shades, the synth rhythms and simple, melodic pop, are all part of a package we’ve heard many times before.
Of course, none of this mattered, because The Strokes were the real reason why thousands of people stormed the grassy fields at Auditorium Shores (some quite literally, including tearing down a metal fence when they were told they couldn’t enter). It’s kind of weird that The Strokes have earned a heightened buzz usually only reserved for a new band on the rise, but I suppose that’s what a long hiatus and a reformation will do for your career.
The Strokes sure have not forgotten how to play with one another, and their set couldn’t have been tailored better for the masses. They thrashed the crowd early on with the searing “The Modern Age” and followed suit with their new single, “Under Cover of Darkness”. Few casual fans could have been disappointed, as the band made sure to hit on “Someday” and “Reptilia” among other cuts from the band’s new fourth album, Angles.
Playing hopscotch with their discography, the band was consistently delightful; Julian Casablancas’ voice was crystal clear and the duel guitarists, Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond, Jr., traded those now-vintage riffs with fervor. The band closed things out with a bang, playing “Last Nite” to a shower of fireworks and a fever pitched crowd.