While the thousands of the good people of Minnesota paid homage to Sir Paul next door at the Target Center, his fellow Brits, The Struts took the opportunity to blow the minds of about 1600 fans at First Avenue next door! They released their album “Everybody Wants” in 2014 but suddenly “Kiss This” is in the top 5 of several alt charts including Sirius XM’s Alt Nation. Their show at First Ave was sold out and the venue was packed soon after doors opened.
Self-Described “World Famous American Rock Band” Made Violent opened the show. The trio from Buffalo, NY is composed of Justin Acee – drums, Joe White – vocals and bass and Rob Romano – vocals and guitar. Their style of rock is a perfect contrast to the Struts. The Brits would swagger off stage and drive off in a convertible Jag, Made Violent would jump in a Camero and squeal out of the parking lot to the grumble of a big American V8. Their music feels unsafe, raw and glorious. “Right Kinda Crazy” was played life for the first time. The last time they were scheduled at First Ave, the band’s van broke down, and White called their set “The best redemption ever”. Judging by their busy merch table, I was not the only one enjoying the heck out of their set.
Set List: Two Tone Hair / Inside Out / Right Kinda Crazy / Touch / Mistake / You had it Easy / Talk about It / Oh Well / Wave to Ride / On my Own / Sunrise / Dirty / Don’t Wanna Know / Wasted Days
Prior to the Strut’s set the band invited their fans to log into the band’s mobile Wi-Fi for a chance to win a meet & greet, which I thought was a very slick idea. From the moment front man Luke Spiller hit the stage all eyes were glued to him. The other band members have good stage presence but Spiller is at a level I have seen very few artists reach. I thought he was impressive the last time at First Ave when he was sick, this time it was over the top. His energy jumped to the crowd and the venue pretty much went nuts. People were singing loudly along to whole songs (not just the chorus), and in well over 100 shows I have seen at First Ave, this was the most energized audience. The Struts’ music and show take you back to the glam days of the 70s, there is nothing moderate about it, this is about fun!
Spiller’s rolled Rs are epic (think Patrick Steward in Robin Hood: Men in Tights epic). The band is tight and feels like they live to be on stage. The Struts payed their respects to Prince with an outstanding acoustic version of “Purple Rain” in their encore. On the way out the crowd mixed with fans from next door and I dare say, our side had the brighter smiles.
Set List: I Just Know / Time are Changing / Could have been Me / The old Switcheroo / Kiss This / Mary go Round / Dirty Sexy Money / Lets make this Happen / Young Stars / Put your Money on Me / Just a Call Away
Encore: Black Sawn (Acoustic) / Purple Rain (Acoustic) / Where did She Go