The funniest thing though is something I found on the back of the setlist — someone (I think it may have been Fab) drew a play-by-play sketch of what happened on stage when Julian jumped into the audience. (The circle and squiggles on the right is where Julian was, the middle “x” is Albert, and the left “x” is Nick.)
One day when I was going through my stuff for Strokes March Madness I had a sudden epiphany — In the early 2000s I had a bizarre habit of recording tons of stuff on cassette tape, so I wondered if I might have recorded anything Strokes related.
Lo and behold, I found a 90 minute red Maxell UR tape labeled “THE STROKES – 9/28/01 – LUPO’S HEARTBREAK HOTEL PROVIDENCE, RI”.
This particular show is especially close to my heart because it was my very first Strokes gig.
Originally the show was supposed to be held at the much smaller sister venue, The Met Cafe, but due to demand they bumped the show up to Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel just around the corner. My friend J and her friend M got a ride up to the show from some totally random older dudes that M kinda knew.
The three of us sat in the back seat of the tiny compact car as the five of us drove for what felt like hours and hours in the midst of a torrential downpour. I distinctly remember seeing the red and blue Lupo’s neon sign through the raindrop-covered car window and thinking “wow, I’m going to see The Strokes!”
Of course it was one of the greatest concert nights of my life. I had already been totally obsessed with them for months and this show was the ignition point for my subsequent decade-long fandom. (I was originally supposed to see them for the first time on September 14th at Irving Plaza during that year’s CMJ, but then all the shows were canceled after 9/11.)
The crowd was really intense, with all these huge dudes pushing and shoving all us little kids in the front. It actually got so bad that I had to pull myself out of the crowd and I watched the rest of the show from the upstairs balcony.
It was because I was all the way up there that I witnessed what I consider to be a “classic” early Strokes moment:
In the middle of a song, Julian was looking into the crowd — then all of a sudden he throws down the microphone stand and LAUNCHES himself into the audience, causing a scuffle. The rest of the guys continue to play, but both Nick and Albert start edging their way to the front of the stage, nearly throwing down their own instruments and jumping in. At first no one can tell what was happening — but then within seconds the club bouncers are rushing to pull Julian — who’s fist was raised at this point — away from some dude in the crowd.
The bouncers pull the target of Julian’s ire out of the venue and JC climbs back up on the stage and the rest of the show goes on without incident.
Pretty much amazing, right?
So if you ever wondered what it might have sounded like to be at the September 28, 2001 show at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel, it’s your day. Here’s a MP3 conversion of my crappy cassette tape recording of The Strokes playing “Last Nite” from that show:
On November 29, 2001 The Strokes played a headlining show at a now defunct music venue on Long Island called The Vanderbilt. The openers were The Moldy Peaches and The Realistics and tickets were a whopping $16.50.
According to a diary entry I wrote at the time, the crowd was very young due to the fact that it was an all-ages venue. I remember the crowd was pretty intense, with huge dudes pushing tiny little girls in the front into the barricades. I also distinctly remember feeling a sharp pain around my buttocks during the show, and only later that night did I realize the vicious girl that was standing behind me had actually stabbed me with a broken drumstick that she caught during The Realistics’ set.
During the show things got even more rowdy and Julian Casablancas had to tell the crowd to “stop the fighting” and Fab Morettistage dove into the audience… twice.
I was at the show with a couple friends, one of which was this crazy French girl I became friends with via the Internet. After the show she decided we were all going to sneak backstage, which we did with moderate ease, and while back there we managed to snag some shots with some of the band members.
Here’s a photo that was taken of guitarist Nick Valensi that night. He looks so young in this photo… and all sorts of confused.
The Strokes March Madness continues with this great concert listing from January 2002. Scan the list of names of the bands playing the Mercury Lounge and does one stick out? Who wereThe Shitty Beatles? On January 18, 2002 they were Julian Casablancas, Albert Hammond Jr., Nick Valensi, Fabrizio Moretti, and Nikolai Fraiture.
That’s right, the fab five played under the pseudonym at a “secret” gig at the Mercury Lounge.
Here’s a little trivia for y’all — “The Shitty Beatles” is a fake band mentioned by Meatloaf‘s character Tiny in the 1992 movie of Wayne’s World.