The Struts emerged onstage to a slightly damp crowd on a humid New Orleans afternoon.
It had been raining for a majority of the morning, but that didn’t stop the British glam-rock troupe from bringing their infectious energy to the Carnival stage at Voodoo Music + Arts Festival.
“Whenever it rains, Americans don’t move,” lead singer Luke Spiller said. “So I bet you there won’t be anyone there.”
“We’re just hoping we don’t get blown away honestly,” bass player Jed Elliott said with a smile.
But despite the band’s low expectations, the weather held up long enough for the English rockers – Luke Spiller, Adam Slack, Jed Elliott and Gethin Davies – to perform a killer set to an enthusiastic crowd.
Spiller and the rest of the group came onstage with a good, old-fashioned rock ‘n roll flourish, complete with headscarves, shaggy tunics, and red solo cups.
“You Americans know how to throw a pretty awesome party,” Spiller announced to the crowd as he tugged on the Mardi Gras beads hanging from his neck – an admitted souvenir from the Struts’ prior night out on the town in New Orleans’ historic French Quarter.
But don’t let all the flash and retro fetishes fool you, the Struts are no Bowie based gimmick. They’re classic Brit rockers with the talent to support their outlandish cheekiness. Some fans are even hailing them as the key to rock’s resurrection.
Their debut studio album, Everybody Wants, was released in the UK in July of 2014. The album received positive reviews and earned the group a slot supporting The Rolling Stones at a gig in Paris. Their recent American release – an EP titled Have You Heard – features four of the album’s standout tracks.
Their classic rock influences are apparent, but are modernized in their style. Their leading single “Could’ve Been Me” made it to #4 on the iTunes rock singles chart, and the music video – a parodied look at the clichés of rock ‘n roll – has gained over 1.9 million views on Youtube.
But the epic rock-party video wasn’t the band’s original cut. After coming to America the band was encouraged to reshoot with Swedish director Jonas Ackerland.
“Everyone knew ‘Could’ve Been Me’ was the song that we were going to run with,” Spiller said of the video’s second edition. “It was really unusual for a band at our stage to get a director like that, so we decided to redo it. And it came out really well.”
Taking inspiration from the Brit-pop movement along with iconic performers like Mick Jagger and Freddie Mercury, the Struts have gained a reputation for their high-energy live performances. Their Halloween show was no different, with Spiller climbing down from the stage and into the crowd to engage them in a call-and-response sing along.
Later in the afternoon, the band and some fans took shelter from the pouring rain in the Toyota Music Den for their exclusive acoustic set. The lads performed stripped down versions of their hits in addition to a few covers, including Oasis’s “Don’t Look Back in Anger.”
Since their first American television appearance earlier this year, Spiller and the gang show no signs of slowing down. They were recently named “Band on the Verge” by USA Today, and are quickly gaining traction on American ground.
Staying consistent in their unabashed candor, the Struts are exactly what they set out to be – a glamorous return to epic, feel-good rock anthems. With fist-pumping choruses, flashy retro undertones and genuine musical talent, the Struts are everything we love about classic rock, and we can’t get enough.