Last Night: Julian Casablancas at the Downtown Palace Theater

Last Night: Julian Casablancas at the Downtown Palace Theater (11/27/09)

Better Than: Eating leftovers at home.

The streets of Los Angeles were largely empty except for a hugh lines going in front of the Downtown Palace Theater as Julian Casablancas closed out his month long residency in support of his solo release Phrazes for the Young. Julian found some time off from his main band, The Strokes to offer up a collection of synthesizer flavored retro styled tunes. 
Julian wondered on the stage amidst a swirl of keyboards and a large ovation to clutch the microphone for the sunny sounding “Ludlow St.”.  Jangling guitars of “Out of The Blue” might be the closest song that could properly fit on a Strokes album with its swelling chorus. It should be mentioned that the stage production for the show was highly impressive as it unfolded like a sophisticated play with moving stage props and different visuals.
While there wasn't much small talk between the songs, Julian did thank the audience for their support and recognizing some fans that had made it to all four of the shows. As a treat, they debuted a new guitar heavy song that he warned would only be played once. Julian's recent relocation to Silverlake could possibly be the inspiration for the frantic keyboards of “River Of Brakelights.”


A small army of musicians flanked Julian on stage, but the numbers
grew with the additional trumpet players appearing on stage for
“Tourist.”  Sugar coated synthesizers of “11th dimension” along with
the woodblock percussion definitely makes you want to jump dance around
the room, as the pit area in front erupted into a dance party.
Chords of the Apocalypse” closed out their main set as Julian mentioned
they would be back after a short break. Clad in white suits, the band
was back with “30 Minute Boyfriend”. It got crazier when they turned on
some Christmas lights that they were wearing during “Left N Right
in the Dark.”
While it was faintly
recognizable, a entirely reworked cover of Randy Newman's “I Love L.A.”
did manage to get some people sing along. The chants for their cover of
“I Wish It Was Christmas Today” were shrugged off when they closed out
their encore with futuristic sounding “Glass.” I just hope Julian comes
to Orange County next time because Fabrizio Moretti and Nickolai
Fraiture both made stops at the Detroit Bar for their solo projects. 
Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias: I don't know if I fully agree with NME that the first Strokes album Is this It? as the album of the decade but it is pretty darn good.  
Random Notes: The cover of Julian's album pays homage to the RCA logo. 
By The Way: I hope I get to hear the new Strokes album before Nick Valensi goes solo.

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