Without a doubt, the chorus of eye rollers can already be felt from a distance before the first sentence of the show can already be heard. To get it out of the way, yes, Julian Casablanca played a Strokes song, which came as a surprise in light of his “I don’t feel anything anymore” comment to NME. That song was “You Only Live Once”, off First Impressions of Earth (2006), and was introduced it as a “Drake cover” by Julian.
There is a lot of talk going around about the Voidz being the slow and steady downfall of the legacy of Julian Casablancas. The word legacy isn’t used lightly here, it’s a fair stamp. While it may be true, at least Julian is doing it in his own way.
While Julian could (and did) make a slight jiggle of his hips and the small, but dedicated, crowd would roar with pleasure, the notion that they would get a Strokes show left some people, who even walked out, disappointed. “Where No Eagles Fly”, the third song in the set, by no means deserved that treatment because it is an all around song that meets long time fans in the middle.
With every sense of educated opinion and sincerity, the music made my Julian and his counterparts can be compared to the overall style and focus of the Lou Reed Velvet Underground hay days. Lou Reed tended to sing is a spoken-crooner fashion, the music was audibly jarring at times and not so subtle jazz influences broke up the heavy synth balladic choruses. “Father Electricity”, which arrived toward the middle of the band’s set, would be the go to example track.
Intentionally so, Lou Reed and Velvet Underground produced a similar scratch on the head in their time and were largely misinterpreted. And like the Exploding Plastic Inevitable tour, The Voidz would have been better set in a more intimate climate like the Trocadero.
Julian is much more playful than Lou Reed of course, especially with this trademark move: covering the guitarist’s eyes mid chord change. He asked “Hey Philadelphia” in his best metal band frontman impression (think Kirk Hammett or Axel Rose, obviously). Some things never change.
“Instant Crush”, The Voidz collaboration with legendary Daft Punk, was clearly the crowd favorite of the night. The song is toned down in comparison to other Voidz tracks, it’s catchy and works perfectly with Julian’s vocal eloquence. The song was the moment the crowd really came together and danced Thursday night at the Electric Factory.
To bring this whole recap full circle, Julian Casablancas + The Voidz closed out the first show of their tour supporting Tyranny with “Dare I Care”. He sings, “Who me? Sad? I’m the last to hear…” Well played Julian, well played.
After the show, fans, including two young men from India, line up along the yellow wooden barrier to wait for The Voidz to come out from backstage. All of the members of the band came out with big smiles, took pictures with fans and someone in Australia got a video message from none other than Julian himself.