Words by: Adam Harrison
Photography by: Jerome Joyce
The bodies were talking lon September 10th as Britain’s most flamboyant rock n’ roll band, The Struts, rolled up for the first of two back-to-back nights at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall. For the next 100-minutes, we’d receive all the playful energy, crunchy guitar riffs, wild solos, sequenced outfits, tight leather pants, glitter & pizaz you’d come to expect from the glam rockers from Derby, England.
Promoting their sophomore album, Young & Dangerous, The Struts opened their set with the opening track from that album, “Primadonna Like Me.” The energy was emanating from the stage from the get-go as singer & frontman, Luke Spiller, danced, pranced, and well… strutted about like a modern-day Elton John or Freddie Mercury. Much like Mercury himself, Spiller commands the crowd with his powerful vocals, while slaying them with his peculiar movements and entertaining presence.
The set continued to elevate as The Struts blasted hit after hit. The radio banger “Body Talks” was just the second song on the set and was followed by “Kiss This,” and their latest single “In Love with a Camera.” The band’s goal being to set the energy levels to extreme nice and early. Before surprising us with a cover of David Bowie & Mic Jagger’s iconic “Dancing in the Street,” Spiller encouraged the audience to dance with each other, whether the person next to them was a friend or a stranger, picking out his favourite dancing couples as the song progressed.
Occasionally, Spiller would get behind a piano and serenade us with his chilling vocal chops. The first of this occasion came during the band’s anthemic “One Night Only.” His voice ringing around the concert hall while guitarist, Adam Slack, and bassist, Jed Elliott, took centre stage and showed off a few moves of their own.
The set closed in classic Struts style, with the arm-waving, sing-a-long friendly “Where Did She Go.” Which includes audience participation during the post-bridge build up into the final chorus, with something the band describes as human fireworks. This involves the entire audience crouching down to their knees, bobbing about until the final chorus hits, to which they explode into the air in a dancing fit of fury.
Spiller returned alone for the start of the encore, getting behind the keys again to seduce us with a spine-tingling vocal performance of their ballad “Somebody New” off of Young & Dangerous. A rendition so chilling, it would impressive even the most critical of crooners. He was then rejoined by the rest of the band to conclude the night with The Strut’s breakthrough anthem, “Could Have Been Me.”
If you have not seen The Struts live, do yourself a favour and buy a ticket to what is one of the best live rock n’ roll bands on the planet at the moment. Before the venue size and ticket prices double.