so they didn’t save rock & roll. If they did, we wouldn’t
have had to bear the likes of, say, Three Days Grace.
But the Strokes did make quite an impression back in the
hazy, crazy fall of 2001: With the release of their debut
album (Is This It?), and thanks in no small part
to the kiss-uppery of the British music press, the band
were heralded as the purveyors of the New (York City) Rock.
And their scrappy, consciously lo-fi sound (Julian Casablancas
sounded as if his vocals were recorded through a gauze-wrapped
SM-58) certainly helped to steer the course of mainstream
modern rock away from overproduced mush like Everclear and
Third Eye Blind. So thank them for that, at least.
And, to their credit, they are a real band who can really
play. “When we play live,” says bassist Nikolai Fraiture,
“our goal is to kind of appease the record buyer, in knowing
that he’ll hear the same thing—and hopefully better sometimes.
We try to shy away from the over-crazy production, [because]
then you go to the show and it’s a lot flatter than the
As the story goes, Room on Fire, the band’s second
album, was basically Is This It? with better tunes—early
sessions with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich imploded,
sending them back to square one—but with their third album,
First Impressions of Earth (released January 2006),
the group were able to push their established boundaries.
“Pretty much everything was different—the songwriting, the
production. . . . After two albums, we felt that we had
exhausted the Gordon [Rafael, producer of the first two
albums] lo-fi medium.”
And lo-fi it’s certainly not: Under the hand of veteran
producer David Kahne, Casablancas’ voice is as clear as
a summer day, and the band’s tight-knit riffery—the interplay
between guitarists Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond, Jr.—is
sharper than ever. Fraiture even gets a star moment via
his Peter Gunn-referencing bass line on the single
Now, at the end of a yearlong tour supporting Impressions—a
tour that recently saw them open for Tom Petty in his hometown
of Gainesville, Fla.—the band face an indefinite period
of time off. Says Fraiture, “We’re gonna put our feet back
on the ground and realize what just happened. We enjoy playing
live . . . [but] it takes its toll. Being away from home
for so long . . . you have to readjust to all the changes
and everything that are going on.”
That’s not to say they don’t have any surprises left. With
three albums of material to pull from, they promise a varied
setlist, and, according to Fraiture, there’s “a little more
gusto” in their light show.
have a new lighting guy who’s sort of a Deadhead.”
The Strokes, with special guests South and the Loyalty,
will perform tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 6) at the Washington
Avenue Armory. Tickets for the 8 PM show are $28. For more
information or to purchase tickets, call 694-7160 ext. 26
or visit www.washingtonavenuearmory.com.
scotch-guzzling comic Ron White’s current tour is called
“You Can’t Fix Stupid.” We have to agree with the title;
it’s a time-proven fact. The GOP has been trying for years,
but to no avail.
course that joke probably won’t fly with much of White’s
fanbase—we’re not even sure it flew with us—because as a
member of the Blue Collar Comedy family, his people are
predominantly of the red-state variety. (You might be a
redneck if . . . you enjoy Jeff Foxworthy!) But the man
they call Tater Salad (well, he says people call
him that) manages to transcend the limits of his presumed
audience by actually being funny, which never hurts.
Ron White’s “You Can’t Fix Stupid” lands at Proctor’s Theatre
(432 State St., Schenectady) today (Thursday, Oct. 5) at
8 PM. According to the Proctor’s Web site, only single seats
are left at $39.75 a pop, but you never know what might
open up, so it’s worth giving the box office a call 346-6204.
weather couldn’t have been more cooperative, with just enough
cold temperatures on just enough nights to zap the trees
from green to red in time for the 72nd Annual Berkshire
Harvest Festival. Because, after all, there’s nothing like
fall foliage in Western Massachusetts for spectacular scenery.
This year’s festival continues a long tradition of celebrating
community, “showcasing local artisans of the highest quality,
supporting local services, and promoting a wide array of
Berkshire area products.” There will be fun for the kids
(pony rides, hay rides, a haunted house, face painting,
crafts, games and pumpkins), musical entertainment for the
whole family (Ramblin’ Jug Stompers, John Porcino, Moonshine
Holler, Berkshire Ramblers), crafts, a tag sale and a wide
array of tasty foodstuffs.
The 72nd Annual Berkshire Harvest Festival will be held
Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 7-8) from 10 AM to 5 PM at the
Berkshire Botanical Garden (Routes 183 and 102, Stockbridge,
Mass.). Admission is free, but you’ll have to leave Fido
and Fluffy at home (no pets on the grounds). For more info,
visit www.berkshirebotanical.org or call (413) 298-3926.