Live review: The Struts, The Underground (9/28/2016)

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The Struts
The Underground
Sept. 28, 2016

The Underground bore witness to a British invasion on Wednesday night as The Struts continued their American takeover with a stop in the Queen City. Playing to a packed room, the foursome from Derby in Derbyshire, England proved just why “Everybody Wants” a piece of them these days.

The band, named for singer Luke Spiller’s habit for strutting about onstage, officially formed in 2009 and released their first single three years later. They followed up their debut release with a four-track EP, Kiss This, through Virgin EMI before unleashing their first official album, Everybody Wants. The band’s popularity has snowballed ever since, culminating in a following that worships the ground they walk on.

The Struts have previously been described as “glamorous,” “dangerous” and “unabashedly over the top retro-fetishist classic rock.” Seeing them live on stage, it’s easy to see where those monikers came from. They’ve cited Queen, the Rolling Stones and My Chemical Romance as influences, amongst others, and that influence is clear from the moment they set foot on stage. Spiller quite literally struts out onstage in a sparkly golden jacket, glimmering gold war paint and a sequined shirt. The dude’s got style.

Launching into a high-energy performance of their latest track, “Put Your Hands Up,” the first in a 13-song set, The Struts set the tone for the evening with a commanding presence. They simply demand audience participation, and front man Spiller knows how to get exactly the reaction he wants. The guy is like a conductor, constantly egging the crowd on and communicating with over the top hand motions. All of this while flawlessly hitting the high notes.

The entire band is on point throughout the raging performance, but it’s Spiller who really gets to shine. He’s quite the force to be reckoned with, pouring his heart and soul into the performance until his hair is dripping with the exertion. He’s like a cross between Russel Brand and Mick Jagger, but with a voice that is constantly reaching new heights with each song. It’s incredibly impressive, to say the least.

The group paced the evening perfectly to bring their fans on their musical journey. From the highs of hits like “Kiss This” and “The Ol’ Switcheroo” to rock ballads like “Mary Go Round,” The Struts carefully led the packed Underground through their homage to classic rock. The band will be back in North Carolina come Dec. 5, playing The Orange Peel in Asheville. Make the drive because this band is without a doubt worth it.

Setlist:
1. Put Your Hands Up
2. These Times Are Changing
3. Could Have Been Me
4. The Ol’ Switcheroo
5. Kiss This
6. Mary Go Round
7. Roll Up
8. Dirty Sexy Money
9. Let’s Make This Happen Tonight
10. Put Your Money on Me
11. Only Just a Call Away

Encore
12. She Makes Me Feel
13. Where Did She Go


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