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Julian Casablancas

LIVE REVIEW: Julian Casablancas + The Voidz, Store Vega, 16.12.14

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Julian Casablancas is one of those 00’s indie heroes stuck between rock god status and being an unfortunate, talented soul desperately trying to cling onto the hype of the past by offering up repeatedly sub-standard new material. And who can blame him? When you write the record of the decade, maintaining your rep can be tricky. Casablancas’ latest effort with The Voidz (slightly impudently called Tyranny) feels rather like this, with unmoving melodies and only glimmers of promise that feel distinctly Strokes-esque. But as the unkempt and floppy haired band take the record live, Casablancas manages to convince me a little bit more, albeit slowly, of the record’s validity.

The attraction of The Strokes is their raw energy, the ability to shout and power up their audience and listeners. It is strange and perhaps even uncomfortable to see Casablancas play without this backdrop, to a record that is, for the most part, messy, incoherent and dull. On a Tuesday night, his chances of rousing a sleepy Danish audience are tested. Casablancas himself seemed confused at the lack of enthusiasm, asking “What, is it Sunday night with you guys, or what’s going on?” It’s at this point that some of the crowd inside Store Vega sheepishly look at the shoes, and feel obliged to get a bit more into proceedings, whilst others look pissed off and go and wallow their sorrow in Tuborg. Tyranny highlight ‘Where No Eagles Fly’ excites the audience a little more, but it is ’11th Dimension’ from Casablancas’ 2009 solo album Phrazes for the Young which really sees the band and audience express the energy expected for this kind of artist. Suddenly the pocket of die-hard Strokes fans (wearing merch, of course) who are putting their arms above their heads and falling over spread through the front of the venue. The crowd looks like it’s really enjoying itself for a brief glimmer. “Mange tak” says Casablancas, before suggesting they “get back to business” by performing ‘Business Dog’ from the new album.

The Tyranny tracks have received a much needed small injection of energy. It seems as though this is a record which works far better live when the band makes an effort. The frontman suddenly changes his tune to tell the audience that it’s an “honour” to play for them. But it’s still not much. Many exit the venue before the encore, which features The Strokes track ‘I’ll Try Anything Once’. Casablancas and a synth express some half-hearted feeling to complete a half-arsed gig, and the band bow out of their European tour.

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