TVD Live: The Struts
at The Roxy, 5/31

Ready to embark on their 2018 Summer World Tour, The Struts descended on West Hollywood for a series of four sold-out shows at the legendary Roxy Theater. For most bands of this size, a residency like this would be simply unheard of. But we’re talking The Struts here. Since 2009, this dynamic band from Derbyshire, England has taken the world by storm and was about to do the same for its legions of fans here in Southern California. Glam was finally making its triumphant return to the legendary Sunset Strip!

Thursday evening’s show was the 3rd of a 4-day residency for The Struts and could not have come soon enough. Driving in from Long Beach, I had plenty of windshield time to get my head right for the upcoming show by cranking up a playlist chock full of Struts classics, many from their 2014 debut album, Everybody Wants. This has been one of my go-to albums since its release and was excited to see how it would translate on stage at the world-famous Roxy Theater in West Hollywood, CA. I was literally hours away from finding out and couldn’t have been more jacked up to see The Struts live.

As I walked down Sunset Blvd to pick up my tickets, I couldn’t help by notice all the die-hard Struts fans waiting in line. Many had been there since noon, waiting patiently for their chance to be up close and personal with their favorite band on the planet. Some of the diehard fans were dressed to the nines while others looked look liked they just gotten off from a long day at the office. Regardless of disposition, most were the same die-hard fans that had also lined up early the previous two evenings. To say these were Struts “super-fans” would probably be an understatement.

Opening for The Struts on the US leg of their 2018 world tour were a super fun band from Nashville named Nightly. This electronic alt-pop band from Music City USA, fronted by teen heartthrob Jonathan Capeci and guitarist extraordinaire Joey Beretta, took an already hyped Roxy crowd on an amazing sensory journey that was probably unexpected as an opening act. Hits like “No Vacancy” and “XO” sounded amazing and had the crowd pressing forward against the stage to get a better glimpse of these up and coming stars. Rumor has it that Nightly could be releasing an album towards the end of 2018, and based on the reaction received from the crowd that evening, we’re hoping this happens much sooner than later.

After a much-needed break for the near-capacity crowd, lights finally dimmed over an audience of nearly 600 as The Struts were about to take the stage. The crowd surged forward and fans who were for the most part calm all night long suddenly lost their mind as The Struts finally took the stage. First out was drummer Gethin Davies followed immediately by bassist Jed Elliott and guitarist Adam Slack. Davies doused those lucky enough to be in the front row with a shower of glitter that seemed to take an already peaking energy to a whole new level. And when you thought it couldn’t get any better, out came frontman extraordinaire Luke Spiller donning an incredible yellow and black satin jacket embroidered with the phrase, “Sir Rock & Roll.” That cockiness reminded me of the many that came before him during glam’s glory days on the legendary Strip. All smiles, Spiller threw his hands into the air, leaned into the crowd, and launched into their smash hit single, “Put Your Hands Up.” The Struts show was officially on!

Over the next two hours, fans in attendance were treated to a high-octane show that never saw a break in energy or intensity. Those lucky enough to be at The Roxy Thursday evening were treated to amazing lighting, incredible sound, and a band chemistry that was on point from downbeat until the final curtain call of the evening. Whether you were into the band when they started out in 2009 or just found out about them recently, there was something for everyone in attendance that evening.  Newer songs like “One Night Only” coupled with killer covers like David Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel” (featuring guest vocals by Barnes Courtney) took Thursdays 15-song set to a whole new level.

The Struts closed down their two-hour set with a four-song encore consisting on an acoustic version of “Mary Go Round,” a T-Rex cover, “Get It On” (featuring ex Guns ‘n’ Roses Drummer Matt Sorum), fan favorite “Could Have Been Me,” and my favorite song, “Where Did She Go.” Talk about taking it up a notch—these guys killed each song of the encore as it was their first of the evening and left nothing on the table as the final song came crashing to an end.  It was the perfect way to end an incredible evening of music.

Seeing as I have never seen The Struts live before, I could not compare this show to others I may have seen in the past. However, I did have the ability to compare the performance to many shows I have seen this year. What I can say with 100% certainty is that this was probably of my favorites live shows of 2018.  Jed Elliot’s thundering bass was nothing short of amazing and guitarist Adam Slack literally blew the doors off the joint (my ears are still ringing!).  And the glue the kept The Struts incredible sound together throughout the evening was the mind-blowing drumming of Gethin Davies. Finally, there’s the vocal genius of Luke Spiller.  I was literally blown away all evening by his stage presence and incredible vocal range. Closing my eyes at certain points throughout the show, you’d swear that the legendary Freddie Mercury had been reincarnated at some point and had miraculously replaced Spiller on stage.  It was haunting in a strange sort of way but his performance on Thursday night was nothing short of brilliant.

Top to bottom, The Struts put on a spectacular show (for their 3rd sellout in a row) and highlighted why they are one of (if not the) best live acts on the planet today. Not only is this quartet extremely talented, but they possess a unique on-stage chemistry that most bands would kill to have. In addition, The Struts have an incredible fan base that goes “all-in” during each of their live performances. Most were drenched in sweat when the lights finally went back on and reality began to set in. When you combine the two forces, you get an explosive result that captures the mind and electrifies the soul. And to me, that is what live music is all about.

NIGHTLY

Setlist
Put Your Hands Up
These Times are Changing
One Night Only
Primadonna Like Me
Kiss This
Body Talks
Dirty Sexy Money
Let’s Make This Happen Tonight
In Love with a Camera
Rebel Rebel (David Bowie Cover)
Put Your Money on Me

Encore
Mary Go Round
Get It On (T-Rex Cover)
Could Have Been Me
Where Did She Go

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