Words by Molly Segers – Photos by Rosie Judd
The Struts, with Beware of Darkness and Goodbye June, unleashed a delicious muck of rock eras for the Athens crowd at Georgia Theatre last night. For The Struts, channeling classic glam and arena rock is like breathing, as they so thoroughly embody the style that they love. If you manage to not have fun at one of their bombastic and exuberant shows, it’s not them. It’s you.
Frontman Luke Spiller took the stage looking like the love-child of David Johansen and Steven Tyler in head to toe sparkle, seeming to sweat glitter from his pores, and flanked by a light show that bordered on painful. With a James Brown shuffle and graceful flick of his hand, Spiller commanded the crowd in sing/scat-alongs and claps from opener “Put Your Hands Up” through their set that literally had the balcony shaking.
Besides the new single, the set featured ten songs from their debut album, Everybody Wants, including encoring an acoustic version of “She Make Me Feel,” proving they’re so much more than sparkle and posturing. Despite only having a single 40-ish minute record to pull from, they stuck to a 10 song set with a few interludes of soaring guitars, “Can I get a YEAH?!” and stage frolicking. This is fun and follows the rock and roll handbook (rule #7), but it was dangerously close to getting repetitive. I would have loved to hear an obscure B-side cover or a completely ridiculous pop song Strut-ed up to flesh out the set. There was an especially brilliant moment in one of these interludes between the last two songs (while Spiller was getting his sequined top hat) when guitarist Adam Slack led the crowd in his own sing/scat-along armed with only his guitar.
While The Struts are known for classic glam Brit rock camp, opener Beware of Darkness are a riff heavy three-piece from LA in black leather with sinister basslines, gonzo drummer, and just a touch of whimsy. I didn’t get them live, but upon a morning-after listening, I get it. Acoustics plus earplugs made vocals come off a bit nasal and feet miss-matched.
First of three Goodbye June are a twangy southern rock, a’ la Blackberry Smoke, with an edge and touch of distortion. At one point I through they were going to break into “Black Betty” (they didn’t), but it’s a toss-up if it would have been more like Spiderbait or Ram Jam. Likewise, there was piece of one guitar part very reminiscent of Rage Against the Machine’s “Sleep Now in the Fire”.
But all in all, a rockin’ good night.
1. Put Your Hands Up
2. These Times Are Changing
3. Could Have Been Me
4. The Ole’ Switcheroo
5. Kiss This
6. Roll Up
7. Dirty Sexy Money
8. Put Your Money on Me
9. Only Just a Call Away
10. She makes Me Feel Like
11. Where Did She Go