Tonight I went with friends - my America-tourin' out-o'-town pal Anna Borg, and Lisa McGuire, who's local but with whom I hadn't hung out in an embarrassingly long time - to see Julian Casablancas, aka "That Strokes Guy," at the Cannery Ballroom.
I know, you're used to detail-filled concert reviews, but in this case, I'm not the man to provide one. I owned the first Strokes album for about a minute, wasn't thrilled with it, sold it, and haven't kept up with the Strokes or Strokes-related things since. Setlist? Not when I don't know the songs!
Actually, none of us fortysomethings were really expecting much of anything. We were mostly just looking for something fun to do together, it seemed like the best entertainment option available tonight, and Lisa could get us in for free. Winner!
Anyway, if anyone wants to know where the hipster doofi of Greater Nashville were tonight, it was at the Julian Casablancas show. In fact, tonight I had the revelation that I listen to Old Person Music, because I realized that the hemlines at the shows I usually attend are no longer nearly as short as those sported by even the most conservative young women at tonight's festivities. So I guess I also no longer listen to Short Skirt Music, since I don't see them anymore when I go out.
I also wasn't prepared for how LOUD the show was! I wore earplugs to almost every show in the '90s, but hearing loss plus the fact that I listen to Old Person Music in small clubs had led me to abandon the practice with no discernible ill effects. But tonight, the sound was so loud that I could barely hear all the songs I didn't know.
Anyway, That Strokes Guy played That Strokes Song - actually very early, three songs in - plus some other songs that are probably from his recent solo album. The crowd was enthusiastic, bopping and singing along between trips to the bar for more PBR.
That Strokes Guy also played a faithful cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark." When it first started, I thought "huh, he's playing a song that sounds like... wait a minute, IT IS!" And to close the regular set, he played "I Wish It Was Christmas Today," the latter-years Saturday Night Live yuletide staple (Anna recognized it long before I did). I would have been even more amused if he had covered Courtney Love's "But Julian, I'm a Little Older Than You."
Still haven't quite figured out what That Strokes Guy was wearing, and we also didn't figure out if he was bored or if that's just the way he rolls, super mumbly and hanging on to the microphone stand for dear life. His band did rock out effectively, and the crowd was eating it up, so he was indeed able to connect successfully to the Short Skirt/Hipster Doofi demographic.
After we felt like we'd seen enough and were tired of standing up - after all, we are consumers of Old Person Music - we prepared to exit at what we thought was an early departure point, but it turned out to be the end of the regular set! We were out of the building by the time the encore(s?) started, beating the crowd to the exits and returning across the Cumberland unhindered by traffic. Having observed Hipster Doofi in their natural habitat, we were relieved to be back to our homes and cats and physical media before midnight. It was a great evening mostly because of the company, but That Strokes Guy didn't hurt it either.
(Photo courtesy Lisa McGuire; title reference courtesy Game Theory)