The Struts keep glam rock alive
House of Blues Boston, Boston, July 30, 2019
Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
Glam rock is alive and well in the guise of British band The Struts. For those who feared that Queen (even with Adam Lambert at the helm) and their ilk had no modern day sympatico troubadours, fear no more.
Just as Queen's focal point was Freddie Mercury (okay, guitarist Brian May richly deserved tremendous acknowledgement), The Struts most clearly are built around lead singer Luke Spiller. He had the glam rock look down very well - androgynous looking; (black-white) leather pants, a glittery top and lots of make up /paint on his face including eye liner.
If you look him up, the comparisons place him somewhere between Mercury and Jagger. Based on this night, that would be most appropriate. Spiller's was not one to stand still as he bounded about the stage as if he needed an outlet to express his joy and release his energy. There was no doubt about it - Spiller clearly enjoyed his time at center stage.
Not that the songs necessarily needed anyone to pump them up. The Struts tended to go at one speed - really fast and melodic - from the get go with "Primadona Like Me" and "Body Talks." This was not a night where you were going too much of a break in the warp speed world of The Struts.
The Struts were far from a one-man band. Guitarist Adam Slack, a co-founder of the band, contributed a bunch of leads. Drummer Gethin Davies was sure-handed throughout ensuring that the music was not going to slow down. No way. No how.
That would eventually happen a few times - welcome moves at those points - when Spiller and Slack were onstage alone on the acoustic "Mary Go Round."
Spiller also tickled the ivories ("Somebody New," the lead-off song for the encore), recalling another sometimes glam rocker, Elton John.
Spiller also got a lot of help from the very enthusiastic crowd on vocals time and again, taking stanzas or adding backing harmonies. That was certainly true on the fun cover of a toughened up version of "Dancing in the Streets," which the group had just released.
The Struts may not be reinventing the musical wheel, but with Queen only trotting out old material, a night with The Struts brought new sounds to an older style in an upbeat set.
Canadian band The Glorious Sons preceded the headliners with a very forceful set as well. The band were more straight-ahead rock and rollers (also not a genre that's particularly popular these days) highlighted by a very forceful lead singer Brett Emmons.
At times, Emmons seemed to be possessed - animated in a way far different than Spiller. There was a crunch to the songs, which were well conceived.
The Glorious Sons have had much success in Canada. It was easy to see why.
Bones UK, ostensibly a duo with a drummer helping out, did not especially impress. In a night that was not built for originality, they fit right in, but even more so. Lead singer Rosie Bones belted out the songs, though none were particularly memorable. Nor was her well-worn stage presence, sounding very rehearsed in her comments, such as "We're Bones, and you're going to get boned." Enough said.