The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas kept the audience waiting nearly an hour after openers Telepathe wrapped their synth-heavy set at New York’s Terminal 5 on Friday night, but his hometown crowd was forgiving. The show — the final gig on Casablancas’ first solo tour — marked the second of two long-awaited performances by the downtown stalwart, who released his own Phrazes of the Young at the tail end of a decade that saw his band’s debut grace numerous best-of lists (including Rolling Stone‘s countdown).
Clad in signature leather with his dark hair dangling in his eyes, Casablancas opened with Phrazes‘ “Glass” and ran through nearly all of the record’s 10 tracks with a six-piece band that muddied some of the softer melodies with a powerful collage of sounds. The singer had forewarned he’d be financially unable to bring the grand theatricality of his recent Los Angeles gigs back East, and he seemed a bit humbled by the acceptance of his stripped-down show. “I’m fucking psyched, man,” he said, gazing at the crowded — but not sold-out — audience at the 3,000-person Manhattan venue. “This is way more than I expected.”
Halfway through the set, Casablancas announced he was going to play a cover — his first of three (he later broke out Kings of Leon’s brisk “Velvet Snow” and the SNL holiday tune “I Wish It Was Christmas Today”). “You might know them,” he joked, before launching into the Strokes’ “I’ll Try Anything Once” off 2006’s First Impressions of Earth — the only song of the night during which Casablancas’ bandmates backed off. With the stage refreshingly less crowded, his voice was finally clear, accompanied only by a piano.
“Out of the Blue “
“River of Brakelights”
“30 Minute Boyfriend”
Untitled New Song
“I’ll Try Anything Once” (Strokes cover)
“Left & Right In the Dark”
“Velvet Snow” (Kings of Leon cover)
“I Wish It Was Christmas Today”
“4 Chords of the Apocalypse”