Live Review

Julian Casablancas, Palace Theatre, Melbourne

The Strokes singer reaches another dimension.

As the gathering throng wait for the venue to open, it’s clear that many of these forlorn-looking, earnest punters of alabaster complexion and black attire represent an entirely new contingent of teenage indie rock punters – Twilight fans. Yes, those who have studied the list of acknowledgments in Stephenie Meyer’s saga phenomenon that name-checks bands such as The Strokes, led by that great innovator of New York indie rock revivalism, Mr Julian Casablancas. Now that he has a solo project, it seems this new coven of fans is eagerly awaiting the presence of the man at tonight’s show. However, once the quite lengthy queue is allowed to enter the intimate venue, many of the huddled fans must endure Andy Clockwise.

Resembling a cross between Jack Black’s Tenacious D and Russell Crowe’s now-defunct 30 Odd Foot Of Grunts, Andy submits the shocked, yet polite crowd to three-chord dirges bearing titles such as ‘Taking Over The World.’ Then, the previously LA-based, Sydney singer explains that the song ‘Everybody’s In A Band,’ is about “LA douchebags, otherwise known to you people as Sydney wankers, of which I am both.” After introducing the last song called ‘Issues,’ of which Andy says “I’ve got plenty of them,” the band mercifully leaves the stage, but not before Andy asks the crowd to “download” their upcoming album “illegally,” before stating, “I do not – I repeat – do not, want to make a living.”

After what seems like an eternity of waiting, that saviour of New York indie rock, Julian Casablancas, finally arrives on stage, sweeping the crowd up in a thunderous maelstrom of pummeling beats and buzzing guitars, sounding like an accelerated version of a Western soundtrack. Decked out in metal-studded leather jacket, he embraces the microphone stand, swaying his body as he delivers warbling vocals, sending punters into a frenzy. Swaggering around the stage, he acknowledges the screaming fans with, “Thank you, I really appreciate it.” Ever the cool hipster, Julian engages the delighted audience with banter such as, “What’s up, man? Melbourne, what’s cooking? This is cool, man. Alright, you guys are awesome!” Then, with a “let’s do this,” the familiar ’80-style Casio beats of ’11 Dimension’ ring out, thrilling the fans.

As the shrieking crowd reach ever-escalating decibel levels, Julian says, “You guys are a billion miles the best crowd we’ve played to…That’s true,” before delivering a heartfelt version of the romantic track ‘I’ll Try Anything Once.’ With its music box-like tinkering keyboards, the lullaby-style track has the crowd singing along to the chorus, which echoes The Strokes ‘You Only Live Once.’ Then, with a Johnny Cash-style thumping country beats, Julian yells “Ye-ha.” Soon after, he leaves the stage. However, after the crowd cheers for more, he returns, clearing enjoying the company of such devoted fans. “Wow, playing for you folks is pretty cool!” he says. “So what are you guys doing later? Going around town? Yeah, I just wanna talk to people and hang out? Can we just hang out?” He continues with a ‘60s-style track ‘4 Chords Of The Apocalypse,’ driving punters wild. Then, after a cacophony of synths and dream rolls, he leaves the stage.

However, the crowd is obviously reluctant to let him go, cheering for another “encore.” He then returns to the stage, amid much fanfare. After urging the crowd to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to guitarist JP Bowersock, he introduces the finale with, “For those of you who know this song, this is a Christmas song”, before bells ring out, and the band deliver a driving version of ‘I Wish It Was Christmas Today.’ And with that, he leaves the stage, despite a smattering of ever-hopeful fans clapping for more. Overall, Julian seems to charm punters with his endearingly affable air of nonchalance, effortless cool and impassioned tracks. Indeed, tonight proves there are some who will always be considered rock royalty, and will no doubt inspire certain novelists well into the future.

Read More

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Stay Updated!

Get the best of DIY to your inbox each week.

Latest Issue

April 2024

With Bob Vylan, St Vincent, girl in red, Lizzy McAlpine and more.

Read Now Buy Now Subscribe to DIY