Concert Review: The Struts Halloween Show In Chicago 10/30/2017

Devil’s Night aka October 30 is known for its mischief, vandalism, and arson. But outside Bottom Lounge people weren’t stirring up trouble. Rather they stood in line, some shivering in their costumes, waiting to spend an intimate evening with UK’s The Struts.

The band got into the spirit of Halloween by first performing as Gin and Tonic – The Struts as Oasis. With a pair of dark shades, booze in hand, and a smug pout on his face Luke Spiller instantly transformed into Noel Gallagher. They played hits like “Wonderwall,” “Morning Glory,” and “Cigarettes & Alcohol” complete with Spiller popping off f-bombs at random. Even if you weren’t familiar with all the songs, it was fun watching the band pull off their best Oasis imitations. And they made each track irresistible; you couldn’t stop dancing. As WKQX radio DJ Lauren mentioned, it’s probably the closest we’ll get to an actual Oasis show.

After a quick change, it was time for The Struts and it was a non-stop party. They opened the show with the blood pumping “Put Your Hands Up,” which practically made everyone lose their minds.  No one could resist jumping around and dancing. The setlist was filled with crowd pleasers like “Kiss This,” “Could’ve Been Me,” and “Dirty Sexy Money” along with new songs “One Night Only” and “Primadonna Like Me.” They even took a moment to honor the late David Bowie with a riveting cover of “Rebel Rebel.” Even though they spent 30 minutes opening their own show, the band was filled with boundless energy. The band played hard as Spiller glided and danced around the stage never missing a beat. Not even halfway through the set people were already sweating from constantly dancing. This is a band that won’t let you stand still.

Spiller was born to be a rockstar. Full of energy, flamboyance, and style he’s the epitome of 70s rockstars when it was all about sex, drugs, and rock n roll. He commands every second of your attention never wanting your eyes to leave the stage. He has the crowd in the palm of his hand. They did anything he said – the mark of a great frontman.

 

 

There was no time to get out phones to snap pictures as Spiller demanded the crowd to put their hands up for every song. And the crowd happily obeyed. When he did notice people taking pictures rather than going on a tirade about “living in the moment” he begged for forgiveness since he didn’t have time to put on makeup since Noel Gallagher doesn’t wear makeup.

The Struts at Bottom Lounge in Chicago

There was never a dull moment. The band was spot on in sound as they slayed through songs like “Put Your Money On Me” and “The Ol’ Switcheroo.” Drummer Gethin Davies is a beast behind the kit, while Jed Elliot laid out smooth bass grooves and Adam Slack provided the sizzling riffs. Spiller continually showed off his impressive vocals with call-and-response cries and yelling things like “Aw aw aw aw aw aw” and “B-b-b-b-b-baby!” and having the crowd copy him. His banter gave the audience some much needed time to take a breath. At times he was humble, thanking the crowd for their unending support, other times flirtatious and cheeky.

The night ended with a rousing rendition of “Where Did She Go?” Decked out in a sequined top hat and blazer with “rockstar” embroidered on the back, Spiller led another mass sing along. With arms waving in the air it felt like singing with your buddies at the bar after a few rounds. The crowd sang so loud they almost drowned out Spiller. Suddenly, he stopped everything and told the audience to get on the ground. Of course, they did. He took the moment to point out some costumes in the crowd that caught his eye. Finally, on his count, everyone hopped up in unison expelling every last ounce of energy left. The band took a bow and left the stage leaving the crowd chanting “One more song!”

Seeing The Struts live is one big party. You don’t worry about the outside world or work the next day when you’re there. You let yourself go, sing as loud as you want and dance even though you may not be good at it. As everyone filed out of the venue, buzzing about the show one thing was clear: everybody wants The Struts.

Ashley Perez Hollingsworth

Ashley Perez is a freelance music journalist based in Chicago. Her work has appeared on AXS, The Crypt 1331, Chicago Innerview, New City, The Millions, and Reality-Comics. She also runs her own music blog at Radio Not Found. Some of her favorite bands include Nirvana, The Cure, Muse, Marilyn Manson, and Green Day.

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