Live Review: The Struts - O2 Shepherds Bush, London 26/02/2019
In the words of Freddie Mercury:
"A concert is not a live rendition of our album. It's a theatrical event".
If there was ever a band that could embody the legacy of Queen and the other heavyweight rock bands of the by gone era, The Struts have to be top of the list. You may be forgiven for thinking these guys hail from the Sunset Strip in California, what with their captivating swagger and tight leathers, in fact their roots are based in humble old Derby here in the UK.
While there is a social movement for people to embrace their natural beauty, bands like The Struts are happy to embrace the theatrics of a live performance with a heavy dose of guy-liner and glitter. Musically, I hear a number of classic rock influences from the obvious vocal similarities between frontman Luke Spiller and the legend that is Freddie Mercury, to the Motley Crue-esque “Primadonna Like Me”, the Rolling Stones swag of “Put Your Money On Me” and the Aerosmith flamboyance of “Dirty Sexy Money”. If you're more into contemporary music then you may be more familiar with hints of Fun., My Chemical Romance, The Killers and Panic At The Disco and even The Strokes, in songs like “In Love With A Camera”, “Fire”, “Kiss This” and “Body Talks”. So while they may be categorised as a glam rock band there is a lot more musical variety to them then you would initial assume and if you were to take a snap shot of the audience, then you will see a nice mix of men and women of all ages, which to me is a good indicator that The Struts will be around for many more years.
A typical gig for The Struts involves a lot of crowd interaction and tonight was no exception. If you haven't left the venue covered in sweat (yours and of those around you) and with a huge smile on your face then I would question whether we were at the same gig or not. The sold out Sheppard's Bush audience came together for a beautiful, intimate acoustic rendition of “Merry Go Round” where Spiller called for the crowd to shine their mobile phone lights, creating a strong feeling of unity amongst us. Taking things up a notch, Spiller chose a girl from the crowd to be his “Courtney Cox” during the Bruce Springsteen cover of “Dancing in the Dark”. The chosen girl, Maddie, did an excellent job of belting out a few notes as well as some dance moves and she most certainly left with a smile on her face that night. The whole room, including the balconies, which are now shaking underfoot, got up to dance along to “Put Your Money On Me” and I think from that point on the dancing didn't stop.
For me, the personal highlight was the power ballad anthem “One Night Only”, though it felt a little lost being so early in the set because it's a perfect song for closing the night. Spiller takes his place at the upright white piano at the back of the stage and manages to effortlessly fill the theatre with his powerful voice while Adam Slack makes his Gibson sing during the guitar solo. This is one of those moments where the band deservedly earn their place alongside the rock bands as referenced at the beginning of the article.
If my write up of the gig hasn't convinced you to check the guys out then perhaps having rock legend, Dave Grohl state that The Struts were the best band to have ever opened for the Foo Fighters, might convince you instead.
Words and Photography by Rachel Prew