Julian Casablancas, The Forum, London

3.00

Five heads are better than one

Considering the Strokes have been written off for much of the decade as a band that have supposedly failed to live up to their early promise, 2009 is turning out to be not a bad year for Julian Casablancas.

The rush of "Best of" lists that have greeted the end of the Noughties have prompted a reminder of the impact that the New York quintet's debut, Is This It, had back in 2001, whilst Casablancas' solo foray has been greeted more favourably than his group's largely underrated last two albums, Room on Fire and First Impressions of Earth.

In all honesty Casablancas' Phrazes for the Young – released last month – is not a great departure musically from his day job, and when the man himself takes to the stage for "11th Dimension" wearing a leather jacket and white sneakers, he is as effortlessly cool as when he first graced the pages of NME.

The band behind him, of course, is different, and live it is not a particularly positive change. The Strokes, at their best, have always been a tight group of musicians, whereas tonight Casablancas' band totals six (not including himself), two of whom are often on percussion. The result is that for many of the songs they end up drowning out the vocals, producing a lot of noise and very little subtlety.

It is not all bad – the twin drummers really drive "Out of the Blue" forwards and thankfully they give the slow-building "4 Chords of the Apocalypse" room to breathe – but it is no coincidence that the highlight comes when they all leave the stage, bar Casablancas and one keyboardist, who together perform "I'll Try Anything Once". A Strokes B-side that ended up in a different form as "You Only Live Once" on their third album, the sparse accompaniment allows Casablancas' distinctive croon to enchant the crowd.

There is another treat in the encore when Casablancas decides to get in the festive spirit and make a contribution to the Christmas song genre, a cover of Saturday Night Live's "I Wish It Was Christmas Today".

As he leaves the stage, it is hard to shake the feeling that this is anything more than a taster for the return of the Strokes; but if Casablancas can continue on this form once back with his old bandmates, 2010 could be another bright year.

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Arts and Entertainment
War veteran and father of Peter and Laust Thoger Jensen played by Lars Mikkelson

TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success

Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd
FilmCarey Mulligan’s Bathsheba would fit in better in The Hunger Games
Arts and Entertainment
Pandas-on-heat: Mary Ramsden's contribution is intended to evoke the compound the beasts smear around their habitat
Iart'm Here But You've Gone exhibition has invited artists to produce perfumes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living