It was an especially miserable Thursday evening in my old stomping ground of Camden Town. In a post-work dash to Proud Camden, Jay Best and I tiptoed precariously across the cobbles of Camden’s Stables Market, which were dangerously slick with rain. The rain thrashed against the doors of the venue as we hurriedly slammed them shut behind us.
Every wall in Proud Camden was adorned with an ethereal photograph of the Queen of Camden herself, Amy Winehouse. Who sat up high, looking down on us all and provided a bizarre form of comfort. Decorated with majestic fairy lights and with low lighting and a warm and enticing atmosphere, Proud Camden offered a haven from the chaos outside.
The venue was heaving with people, fans had gravitated towards the front of the stage and industry insiders lined the walls of the venue. We manoeuvred precariously through the crowd and managed to find comfortable black leather sofas that were positioned directly opposite the stage. Jay and I kicked back, cider in hand, unsure of what to expect but excited nonetheless.
We soon discovered that there is one thing that sets The Struts apart from any other band that I have seen perform live before, and that is their undeniably electric stage presence. Within moments of the band gracing the stage, everyone in the room was on their feet. The drinks that they had fought their way to the bar for earlier, were long forgotten.
Frontman Luke, added a touch of glamour to the festivities; with his wild raven mane, embellished jacket and glitter smeared across his face. He resembled the love child of the glamorous eighties and the grungy nineties. He had more energy and charisma than any lead singer I have ever seen. Everything, from his raw yet rich vocals to his eloquent movements was mesmerising. He had a class that few frontmen are able to possess and it was utterly intoxicating.
The rest of the band; Gethin on drums, Jed on bass and Adam on guitar were just as magnetic as their frontman, a rare feat for any band. They are all undoubtedly talented musicians but aside from that as a band they seemed to possess an astounding sense of sincerity and confidence. I can only assume that derives from years of practice and a serious amount of fire in their bellies.
I noticed that intimate groups of girls looked longingly up at the stage, with stars in their eyes. It is safe to say that these floppy-haired rockers have nailed the aesthetic. Aside from that, it is the visible passion behind their talent which left a lasting impression long after the gig was over.
The Struts performed a collection of high-octane, infectious and unforgettable tracks, each more powerful than the next. The kind of tracks that grabbed you by the throat and forced you to take notice.
My favourite track from the set was You and I, a provocative and heart-wrenching track that is laced with despair and tells the tale of a disastrous love affair.
Another highlight was the hypnotic It Could’ve Been Me, the band described the track as ‘an unapologetic sing-along anthem’. I am inclined to agree, it is a dangerously catchy foot-stomping extravaganza that has been playing over and over in my head since the gig.
I say the following with much conviction, The Struts are bringing back the true essence of rock and roll in an industry that is stifled by mediocrity and the prioritisation of machines over instruments. They are injecting real blood, sweat and tears into a predominantly docile industry and I have a feeling that their hard work will pay off.
All I know, is that I have not been this excited about a band for a very, very long time.