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The Strokes
January 24, 2002
Verizon Theater - Houston, TX

Samuel Barker
Senior Editor
Julian Casablancas of the Strokes (picture by Samuel Barker)

Considering the Strokes have never been out of New York, someone unfamiliar with the band wouldn't expect too much from the band's maiden voyage across the U.S. Well, things are a little different when you've got an album that's selling well, and you're the next big thing.

The Strokes made their first stop ever in Houston on January 24th and made quite an impression on the city. Playing to sellout crowd at the Verizon Theater, the band played the entirety of their debut album, Is This It?, as well as a couple of new ones, and the "controversial" track omitted from Is This It?, New York City Cops.

The impressive part of the Strokes is not the fact that they are selling out venues on their first tour, the impressive part is the way they bring their style of infectious pop rock to the audience without a bit of lost quality.

The Strokes opened with 'The Modern Age,' and never looked back. Lead vocalist Julian Casablancas somehow captivates the audience while hardly moving an inch. Occasionally, during solos, Casablancas would slam the mic stand or would dance a bit, but for most of the evening he was planted directly behind the microphone with on hand gripping the mic and the other gripping the stand.

Guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr. was a lot of fun to watch. He grinned from ear to ear while bouncing around playing the music. Albert occupied an entire half of the stage where he roamed the entire set.

Guitarist Nick Valensi, and bassist Nikolai Fraiture occupied the other side of the stage. These two stayed fairly still and kept in perfect harmony with one another. It's rare a band is as tight as the Strokes when they are playing live, especially at such a young age.

The set rolled up rather quickly with the band playing 14 songs, which at this point is their entire catalog.

Despite the short set, no one was complaining. Everyone heard the songs they came to hear, saw what they wanted to see, and walked away feeling happy. If only more bands could come off with the same amount of quality. Maybe this band is too young to know you're supposed to leave the crowd wanting more, but I doubt anyone will miss them next time, despite getting all that they wanted.

Set List: The Modern Age, Someday, Ze Newie, New York City Cops, Soma, Is This It, Hard To Explain, Last Nite, Alone Together, Barely Legal, When It Started, Trying Your Luck, Meet Me In The Bathroom, Take It Or Leave It.

Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at suma@rockzone.com.

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