Well, it’s been a while since the Struts have headlined a gig in the UK. The last time I saw them was 2019 when I caught 3 of their half a dozen or so shows. ‘The Struts’ recently tried to appear at a few album launches for ‘Strange Days’ at local record shops around the country but unfortunately for the UK fans these were canceled and tickets were refunded. That’s not to say ‘The Struts’ aren’t a hard-working band, all you have to do is look at Facebook at the fan page run by RockNews.co.uk good friends ‘Richard and Martyn’ and you will see an abundance of posts from ‘Strutters’ at shows in the US. Lucky Devils!!
The Struts are made up of Vocalist Luke Spiller, Lead guitarist ‘Adam Slack’, Bass guitarist ‘Jed Elliott, and Drummer Gethin Davies’. Luke and Adam met in 2009 with Jed and Gethin joining the band later. To date, the band have released 3 albums. These include the debut album released in 2016, ‘Everybody Wants’, the popular follow-up album ‘Young & Dangerous’ from 2018, and the latest album released in 2020 ‘Strange Days’ which notably had a collaboration with ‘Robbie Williams’, ‘Def Leppard’ & ‘Tom Morello’. The band have also released several singles some of which are covers.
Tonight’s show is in Nottingham, England. The venue is the world-famous ‘Rock City’. For ‘The Struts’ this is the closest the band will get to perform in front of a ‘home crowd’ as they formed a few miles up the road in Derby. For the fans in the audience particularly the front row this will be the first gig of a few they will see as they follow ‘The Struts’ on their UK tour.
As the lights dimmed and the ‘Gary Glitter’ intro music played through the PA system the atmosphere in the crowd was electric. The band is certainly popular in Nottingham based on the turnout tonight. As the music came to an end out came ‘Gethin, Jed & Adam’. They began to jam on their instruments before the crowd went crazy as the one and only ‘Luke Spiller’ ran onto the stage oozing rock star entertainment from every pore of his body. The band tonight were wearing coordinated black and purple-coloured outfits, each one tailored to each member’s individual style. ‘Adam’ fingers began to play the familiar intro rift from ‘Primadonna Like Me’ and ‘The Struts’ show had well and truly begun. The crowd were behind the band from the beginning and as the song crescendoed into the chorus the whole of Rock City was singing along with the band. What an amazing opener!!
Next up was ‘Body Talks’ and ‘Luke’ didn’t need to encourage the crowd at all to get them singing along with all the ‘Woo Woo’s’ in the song. ‘Kiss Me’ is next and just as easy for the crowd to sing along with. Next is an excursion into the new album ‘Strange Days’ with the song ‘I Hate How Much I Want You’. The album version was a collaboration with ‘Def Leppard’ unfortunately we weren’t lucky enough to have ‘Joe Elliot’ in attendance tonight even though ‘Joe’s’ hometown Sheffield is only up the road.
‘Fire’, ‘One Night Only, Dirty Sexy Money & ‘Low Key In Love’ were played one after the other with barely a break for the band or the audience to catch their breath. ‘Luke’ is continually engaging with the crowd as he sings. Running from one side of the stage to the other, sometimes singing directly to a member of the audience or pointing out and acknowledging a familiar face in the crowd. We are all members of ‘The Struts’ family so why wouldn’t he recognise us. The rest of the band are putting just as much work in. Whenever ‘Luke’ leaves the center stage the space is replaced with either ‘Adam’ or ‘Jed’ performing a solo. Or both of them together dueling with their guitars.
Midway through the show ‘Luke’ calls for the stage lights to be turned off completely. We are now in total darkness and the audience were asked to light up the stage with their phones. A 1000 tiny flood lights light up ‘Luke’ & ‘Adam’ as they are now on stage alone. ‘Adam’ had an acoustic guitar and the song they performed was ‘Mary Go Round’. As the chorus came around towards the end of the song ‘Adam’ & ‘Luke’ stopped playing and as was the case in many a song tonight they allowed the audience to carry on the singing. You don’t go to see a ‘Struts’ show, you are part of it.
After the song ‘Jed’ & Gethin’ returned to the stage and the entertainment dial was turned up to ‘11’. In quick succession ‘The Struts rattled off ‘Put Your Money On Me’, a short medley of songs that didn’t make it into the setlist. Even though the songs were shortened down we were still encouraged to sing, clap and wave our arms around. The audience participation at a ‘Struts’ gig is second to none and really has to be experienced!
The best live band you will ever see.
The next song is from the latest album ‘Am I Talking To The Champagne’ and then came a cover of Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’ which was really popular with the crowd. There were even YouTube videos posted before I got home to write this review. Check them out.
‘Wild Child’ which is off the ‘Strange Days’ album shows how ‘The Struts’ music is evolving with the band venturing into a heavier almost psychedelic ‘Oasis’ sound which is a long way from the glam rock singalongs earlier in the show.
The last song of the set was ‘I Do It So Well’. During the song, ‘Luke’ split the audience down the middle. ‘Luke’ chaired the battle of the crowd. With the left side led by ‘Adam’ and the right was ‘Jed’s’. As we cheered the ‘yeahs’ developed into trickier tongue-twisting combinations and r-r-r-rolling R’s only ‘Luke’ can perform with ease. The battle ended with ‘Adams’ side victorious!
Now if you haven’t been to a ‘Struts’ show, it’s time to welcome the new members of ‘The Struts’ family. This welcome involves pyrotechnics ‘The Struts’ style, that is we all become ‘Human Fireworks’. As ‘Luke ‘ coerced us all to bend down he explained that on his count we are all to jump up and dance. Everyone in front of the stage back to the sound booth was on the floor. Then came the ‘1, 2 a 1, 2, 3’ and that was the cue for us all to jump up and dance around to the song’s final chorus. You definitely play a part in this band’s stage performance.
The band left the stage as the main set finished. A few minutes later to the chanting of ‘more’ from the crowd ‘Luke’ returned to the stage alone. He took up residence in front of his keyboards and began to play ‘Strange Days’. On the album ‘The Struts’ collaborated with ‘Robbie Williams’. In my opinion ‘Lukes’ solo performance tonight was better. The song was penned in the height of a pandemic and hearing it tonight I can’t help but reflect on those strange days that none of us could have imagined. The lines that stood out for me the first time I heard the song were ‘Science fiction I believe has become reality which is soon followed by ‘we don’t know, it’s unclear where we will be this time next year’. Thankfully we can be here tonight to listen to live music, something we all love but maybe should no longer take for granted.
To close out tonight’s show ‘The Struts’ performed ‘Could Have Been Me’. A song full of anthem-worthy lines which I’m sure has inspired many a tattoo!! As the song closes the audience show how much they have enjoyed tonight’s show by belting out the last few verses of the song with everyone around me punching the air to the beat of the music. It’s been great to have ‘The Struts’ back in the UK with a brilliant night of entertainment. The only downside is it now has to end! The band join together on stage for a bow to the audience. Then they give out set lists, plectrums and drumsticks with the biggest prize of all going to an audience member somewhere in the middle who grabbed the towel ‘Luke’ threw which he had only just used to wipe the sweat from his head! Nice……..
‘The Struts’ are one of those bands that you recommend to friends who then go on to become fans. It’s the same with the shows, if you turn up at a venue and have never heard one song by ‘The Struts’ you are still in for a good time. Whilst ‘Luke’ may have impressive vocal abilities and a Ph.D. in Rock ’n ‘ Roll showmanship he is only a quarter of this band. The energy and popularity ‘Adam, Jed & Gethin’ bring to the show make the band the complete package. If you want a night full of great songs performed by a band that you won’t forget then I highly recommend you get yourself a ticket for a show on ‘The Struts’ current tour. Dates and tickets below. Listen to the Rock City playlist on Spotify here.
The Struts Rock City Setlist
- Primadonna Like Me
- Body Talks
- Kiss This
- I Hate How Much I Want You
- One Night Only
- Dirty Sexy Money
- Low Key in Love
- Mary Go Round (Acoustic)
- Put Your Money on Me
- Put Your Hands Up / These Times Are Changing / Bulletproof Baby / All Dressed Up (With Nowhere to Go) / Only Just a Call Away / Where Did She Go
- Am I Talking to the Champagne (or Talking to You)
- Wicked Game (Chris Isaak cover)
- Wild Child
- I Do It So Well
- Strange Days
- Could Have Been Me
‘The Homecoming Tour’
July 12 – Nottingham – Rock City
July 13 – Birmingham – O2 Institute
July 14 – London – O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
July 18 – Bristol – O2 Academy
July 19 – Manchester – O2 Ritz
July 20 – Leeds – Stylus
Tickets available here
European Festival Dates
July 16 – Lollapalooza Paris – Paris, France
July 21 – Deichbrand Festival – Cuxhaven, Germany
July 23 – Skansen – Stockholm, Sweden
Watch our interview with Adam Slack,
The Struts Band members
Luke Spiller – Lead vocals
Jed Elliot – Bass
Adam Slack – Guitar
Gethin Davis – Drums
Check out more from The Struts below