REVIEW: Tour De California Presented by Harley Davidson Feat. THE STRUTS and STARCRALWER
Photos by: Samantha Madnick
Words by: Rudy Flores
SOMA's "Big Room" was packed Friday night as concert goers young and old gathered to get their socks rocked off by the Glam Rockers out of Derby, Derbyshire, England known world wide as THE STRUTS....but first there was STARCRAWLER!!
With rose covered instruments and a throwback look to when Rock N Roll was king, the foursome out of Los Angeles absolutely took the crowd by storm with their sound that can best be described as a mix of all the best parts of 70s rock, 80s punk, with a touch of 90s pop/alternative. Lead singer Arrow de Wilde commanded attention from the crowd with her grungy vocals and erratic stage movements; at one point posing in an almost demonic backwards crab type move thing (yeah it was difficult to put into words. Maybe next time you should be there in person to see it!!). The rest of the STARCRAWLERS Austin Smith, Henri Cash, and Tim Franco absolutely lit the stage on fire with their amazing sound and stage presence.
As their set came to a close Arrow jumped into the crowd and had to be carried by security back to the stage where she crawled off as the instrumental jammed on in the background. Austin was next to exit but not before pulling a lucky young lady on stage, placing his guitar around her neck and telling her to strum away as the song ended. With wild cheers, hoots, and of course hollers (cause what would hoots be without those?) STARCRAWLER left everything on the stage and I'm sure picked up quite a few new fans along the way! As the stagehands got the instruments situated, testing mics, rolling out the signature white piano, soundchecking the drums, etc. the crowd grew thicker and more restless with every passing moment. Seriously though, could you blame them?! 1. They just heard an amazing performance by STARCRAWLER, and 2. THE FREAKING STRUTS were about to hit the stage! Well as the house music faded and the lights went down the wait was officially over and the evenings version of The STRUTS' "Tour De California" Brought to us by Harley Davidson was about to begin! Starting off with the number 2 track off of their most recent album "Young & Dangerous" (recent being 2018) entitled "Primadonna Like Me" Adam Slack, Jed Elliot, Gethin Davies and Lead Singer Luke Spiller, who is the living embodiment of a Glam Rock GOD, bringing back the souls of Freddie Mercury & David Bowie along with the moves of the one and only Mick Jagger (sorry Adam Levine you've got A LOT to learn) and the makeup choices of one Alice Cooper, got the crowd off to a roaring start. Rolling through their hits, The Struts had every single person in the audience completely mesmerized. It was almost as if we were the mice to his pied piper. This couldn't have been better seen than when Luke jumped on that beautiful white piano to belt out "One Night Only". He asked us all if we were ready to sing and there wasn't a quiet mouth in the house! Everyone knew every single word and sang as though they were putting on a mini concert of their own. Normally there would be some snide comment about how there's a reason some of us are on stage and some of us should stick to our day jobs but in this instance it was rather nice. Everyone was having the time of their lives and their chaotic melody was oddly perfect.
During the slight intermission a.k.a. "Luke's wardrobe change" Adam (Guitarist) played his soul to the bone with only a single spotlight on an otherwise black stage. The licks coming from his fingertips were so amazing that he easily could've been right alongside Mr. Clapton, Mr. Bruce, and Mr. Baker as the 4th member of CREAM because his skills truly rose to the top. If you looked into the crowd during his performance you could tell there were a few guitarists out there because with every ultra bluesy note that was played they all made the dreaded BUT NECESSARY "UGF" Ugly Guitarist Face or as it's known in certain circles the JMF...John Mayer Face. Those are the extra special faces that help the music come out so sweet...SERIOUSLY, it's scientific fact! Seeing as how it was the first night of tour why not have some crowd fun huh? How about a proposal? Well that's exactly what happened. Luke called a fan onstage who wrote to the band asking for a bit of help. He brought his girlfriend of 4years on stage and popped the question. Of course she said yes cause YIKES wouldn't that have been awkward? ! Speaking of crowd fun anyone remember Live Aid where Freddie Mercury did some of those amazing back and forths with the audience for "Aye-Yo"? Yeah well Luke did his own version putting left audience members against the right and there were definitely some notes that struck familiar chords. As the evening came to a close Luke asked if there were any "1st timers" in the audience. As hands hit the sky he proceeded to go through his speech about welcoming everyone "to the family baby!", he then turned everyone into "human firecrackers" by having the entire audience kneel down to the ground and during a pivotal part of their song we all jumped up like fireworks bursting through the air. It was truly awesome to see the entire crowd... well almost everyone...there were a few clowns that were "too cool for school" standing right in the middle but whatever for them!
The Struts said "Good Night" and walked off the stage to thunderous applause and the stage went black as they tend to do but the crowd being the crowd....THEY WANTED MORE!! Chants of "Encore" and "One More Song" echoed SOMA and as a stagehand place the mic atop the piano we all got ready for round 2! Luke jumped back on to his piano for an "unplugged" rendition of "Somebody New", followed by "Ashes" and ended the encore with their amazing hit "Could Have Been Me" their breakout hit from their debut album "Everybody Wants". The Struts are truly a force of nature and with new music like "Lowkey in Love" (which was so new Luke flubbed a few lines and made the crowd love it and him even more) in the works they are going to be topping the charts for years to come. Which is great because these guys are the kick in the ass that music of all genres need today. True performers and masters of their trade...and let's not forget they are damned fun too!