The Strokes Live @ The WAMU Theatre
March 9, 2020 in Seattle
By Camille Nibungco
Photos by Travis Trautt
Mindie (Major Indie) rock forefathers and pioneers, the Strokes, treated early Y2K indieheads with an early Monday night performance at the WaMu Theatre at the start of March, just before live music went on indefinite hiatus.
Their opener, Canadian indie pop darlings, Alvvays, warmed the crowd with bubblegum dream rock inspired tracks from their latest album, Antisocialites. Despite the threat of the looming pandemic, they got the crowd bouncing as they closed with crowd-pleasers, “Archie, Marry Me” and “Adult Diversion.”
The Strokes strolled onto the stage casually, yet with the elegance of the grown men they have become, and in an effort to debut their new release, opened with “Bad Decisions.” They interspersed classic hits from their first three albums (Is This It, Room on Fire, First Impressions on Earth) in the set, keeping the audience intrigued yet engaged as we constantly wondered what was coming up next.
Julian Casablancas, the lead singer, credited the Seattle music scene for most of their early influences, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Jimi Hendrix – all artists the band would listen to in their bedrooms when they were still figuring out their sound. Despite saying he wasn’t in a talkative mood, by the end of the night Casablancas chimed in with classic alt-dude cynical remarks about the Dow Jones dropping being unfortunate for the people at the top, actually hating rock and roll, and being publicly “internet crucified.” The crowd positively received his cynicism as they were demographically mid to late twenty-something alternatives that came of age around this time and is reminiscent of the Fre-llard bar atmosphere where they eventually moved out to after “graduating” from their younger Capitol Hill days.
In between moshing to classics such as “Someday” and screaming my heart out to “Last Nite,” the show reminded me of the nostalgic catharsis of being a teenager and hearing these songs for the first time. That euphoric hit of hearing a familiar coming of age song combined with the lyricism that let me be at peace with making bad decisions and being a giant fuck up, but at the end of the day recognizing that life goes on.
Perhaps that’s why they keep playing early 2000’s garage rock in those bars, maybe at the end of the day our nostalgia for our teen/college years feels like a warm, comforting blanket or hug to remind us that life is okay. I close my eyes in release as I hear Casablanca croon, “In many ways, still miss the good old days / Someday / Someday.”
Check out more of Travis’ photos from this show on our Flickr page.