The Strokes & Moldy Peaches - Rough Trade Package - Zodiac, Oxford.

The tour of the year so far rolls into town with a sizable gash down the side of the tourbus. We are told forcibly that there's no smoking in the foyer. The Zodiac have somebody's dad who prints all their posters on a John Bull kit. The omens were stacking up.

Entering the venue at the perfect time, we arrived to witness Mull Historical Society exit stage left, leaving a faint whiff of Teardrop Explodes in the air & total confirmation of why the States are streets ahead of the UK pack in 2001. A quick visit to the t-shirt stall confirms the bonus of the night - the next band on is Moldy Peaches, New Yawk's very own anti-folk super christs. MPeaches win the t-shirt war hands down, The Strokes may be the hottest ticket in the rockworld as we speak but their tees suck chunks. We did score free button badges, though - hurrah!

Taking the stage in outfits last seen in Rhyll Junior School's production of the Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, boy Peach is resplendent in customary green pixie hat & smock, while girl Peach has donned an afro wig & tiger jumpsuit (complete with stick on comedy nose & whiskers). Dealing acoustic versions of debut lp jems, the crowd are putty in their paws. The songs are simple, witty, brilliantly executed & above, fuckin hilariously funny. We get "Who's Got The Crack", "Lucky # 9" & "NYC Is A Graveyard", but sadly no "Downloading Porn With Davo". The absence of raging slabs of gtr, drums, bass & keyboards detract nothing from the lp versions & a new song steals the biscuit hands down. Moldy Peaches are here & they're here to stay, lucky # 9 - hurrah!

The Strokes follow hard on their tails. Dressed in second hand dime store threads with skinny ties & suit jackets, the look is definitely maybe Noo Yawk C75 & it's never looked kooler. Singer, Julian Cassablancas slays us with his first words;

"You may have us down as difficult assholes, but don't believe what you read in the press. I just wanna tell you, this means the fuckin world to us tonite".

The crowd respond with mini pogo out breaks & the floor begins to bounce. The Strokes mix Rickenbaker, Gretch & Fender with valve amps older than the trakMARX posse. The Strokes command the stage like no-one we've witnessed for years. It's hard to take yr. eyes of Cassablancas, he mesmerises, he screams, he throws mic stands petulantly & effortlessly fronts the most exciting six string action this side of TOD, with aplomb. He comes on a lot of young Iggy with just a touch of teenage Jagger. The drummer is a star in his own right, we love drummers who love what they're drumming & The Strokes drummer is drummin up some serious business. Spreading the 3 tracks from the Modern Age ep across a well paced set, tracks like "Barely Legal" & "New York City Cops" will be held up as classics in every sensible home by the time the lp drops in the fall of this year. "Last Night" is the night's best moment, the clarity earnt through repeated plays of the ep shows its spurs. A furious final track is only ruined by a crowd surfing twat who decides to spit beer in the face of Cassablancas & gets the bird in return. Our chances of an encore evaporated with that - or maybe The Strokes really are a no encore outfit. Personally I'd seen enuff, a perfect set at just under an hour & a perfect lp of around 45 minutes to come. 2001, turning out to be something special after all.

Leicester Banks

contact - the needle & the damage done