It may have come to your attention if you read this blog regularly [if these people exist of course, if so, I love you] that we are rather large fans of the work of Mr Julian Casablancas. His new album, after extensive re-listens, has grown on me massively, and I’d like to amend my previous review slightly by saying that I now believe it to be one of the most daring and exciting releases of 2014. This opinion has been strongly enforced by the events of December last year, in which I managed to see Julian Casablancas and the Voidz not once, but TWICE in the space of 3 days.
Though their gig at the Coronet was thrilling, especially thanks to the inclusion of “Instant Crush” at the very beginning, it’s been written about countless times in NME and so forth, whereas, their secret fan gig at the House of Vans has been somewhat overlooked: an issue I intend to address now, with my review of what I will simply call the greatest gig of my life.
The house of Vans, for those unaware, is a converted underground tunnel, in which can be found bars, skateboard facilities, a store, and, most importantly, and tiny gig venue, into which 300 or so die-hard Casablancas fans crammed, all ready to see what Vans itself described rather aptly as “Avante garde punk.” The stage, itself perhaps only 20ft wide, was then dominated by the hulking 6ft figure of guitarist Jeramy Gritter aka Beardo, the smaller Amir Yaghami, keyboardist Jeff Kite, bassist Jake Bercovici, and the animal-like Alex Carapetis. Starting their set with ‘Xerox,’ Casablancas soon snuck onstage, popping out from behind the huge folds of Gritter’s Russian dictator trench-coat amidst hysterical cheers. In such a compact environment, the chemistry of band and audience was palpable, and response, both to new and old material was ecstatic. ‘Where No Eagles Fly,’ promoted an intense fit from the crowd, and closer ‘Dare I care’ found Casablancas leaping down into the front row, his congregation only too willing to be anointed with the honour of coming into contact with the king of new york. Rare Strokes gems, such as B-side demo “I’ll Try anything once” and “Ize of the World,” were met with equal enthusiasm.
After an electrifying 2 hours, walking out from the tight corridors and into the cold London night, surrounded by a murmur of thrilled recollection, one thing was clear: The Voidz had surpassed all expectations. In fact, they’d kicked down the doors of expectation, set them on fire, and thrown the ashes into the river Thames. Their exuberance and confidence onstage makes them a force to reckoned with – if you get the chance in 2015, get a taste of it.