LIVE: Julian Casablancas and The Voidz Showcase New Material at The Roxy
By Christian Koons; photos by Caleb Wicker on April 14, 2014
Last time Julian Casablancas debuted new solo material in Los Angeles, he played a four-night residency at the Palace Theatre downtown complete with resplendent moving backdrops and costume changes. This time around, he went a little simpler. Casablancas and his new band The Voidz announced Friday night's show at West Hollywood's 500-capacity Roxy Theatre just two days prior, and it sold out in minutes. Needless to say, those in attendance came ready to party.
What you heard (mostly new material) and what you saw (fuzzy-signal televisions, torn leather and black, stringy hair) carried the motif of post-apocalyptic retro-futurism—similar to Julian's Phrazes for the Young but with a bit more bite. "Ize of the World"—one of only two Strokes songs on the set—is a good tonal touchstone for the new material. All this made for a pleasant surprise when Julian announced they'd have a go at an "old classic" and the band strung the opening chords of "Take It or Leave It," a song that has proven to retain its power and relevance over the years (the video of The Strokes performing it on Letterman for their network television debut is worth a Google).
Some may say that the golden age of The Strokes is behind us, but regardless of how you feel about the most recent output from the once (and future?) kings of rock, their commander-in-chief has always been more concerned with a different age, and what this new endeavor shows is that Casablancas, unlike so many others, refuses to repeat himself. His tireless pursuit of the Next and the New may not be popular, but he's pushing the ball forward, and for that we should be grateful.