The Strokes fires up the Cosmo


He delivered the line offhandedly, flicking it aside like a cigarette butt smoked down to the filter.

"In many ways, they'll miss the good old days," The Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas sang during "Someday," a wistful tune that treats the past as dismissively as a forgotten one-night fling.

But The Strokes' past came roaring into the present on Saturday night at The Chelsea ballroom at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, where a capacity crowd clearly found a double meaning in Casablancas' words.

With The Strokes back in action, those good old days could continue once again.

Playing their debut show of the year in support of their first album since 2006 -- the forthcoming "Angles," due out on March 22 -- The Strokes were greeted rapturously by model types in designer dresses dancing in the aisles next to dudes in thrift store T-shirts until the force of their collective movement shook the seating in the back of the room to the extent that it vibrated beneath your feet.

When The Strokes debuted in 2001 with the searing, fat-free "Is This It," they rode atop a new wave of fellow "The" bands like The Hives and The White Stripes in what seemed like a signaling of a return to back-to-basics rock 'n' roll.

A decade later, many of those other groups have either broken up or seen their profiles recede, with the re-emergence of The Strokes as a hoped for counterweight to the end of an era of so much promise.

"Angles" seems like it could very well live up to such a burdensome task, as evidenced by the clutch of tunes the band played from the record, beginning with first single "Under Cover of Darkness," a hip-shaking, triumphant-sounding shot of adrenaline.

From there, The Strokes tore into the hard-charging "You're So Right," which was powered by stabbing guitars, the more reflective, elegantly understated "Life is Simple Under the Moonlight," the equally knotty and anthemic "Taken For a Fool" and the funky, fleet-footed "Gratisfaction."

When The Strokes dug into older tunes, the energy released was suggestive of an atom being sliced in half.

Six-stringers Albert Hammond Jr. and Nick Valensi brought enough fretboard acrobatics to "Reptilia" to rival the most tongue-wagging of heavy metal guitar heroes, while Casablancas punched the air with his mic stand like he was warding off some invisible foe during a tough and terse "Whatever Happened?"

The band stormed through an especially feral "New York City Cops" with a bared-teeth menace, while Casablancas' come-ons both seduced and curdled blood from one hot breath to the next during a heated "Take It Or Leave It."

Despite the kinetic nature of their songs, on stage, The Strokes seldom seem to ever break a sweat, their movements so economical, it's as if every gesture cost them money.

And so the crowd compensates, as they did at The Chelsea, with fists in the air, bouncing up and down on the balls of their feet, giving voice to tunes that have given a voice to them.

"You say you wanna stay by my side," Casablanca sang during the aforementioned "Someday," though the packed house was too winded to say much of anything by that point.

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at 702-383-0476 or e-mail him at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com.

 

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