If what went down in Iowa last week is any indication, we’re in for an even bumpier ride in 2020 than we already expected. Tomorrow we get the next installment of the saga with the New Hampshire primary. And ahead of that, the Strokes played a Get Out The Vote rally in support of Bernie Sanders in the New Hampshire town of Durham. (They aren’t the first big-name indie act playing for Bernie, with both Bon Iver and Vampire Weekend taking the stage in Iowa in the past week and a half.) It was one of a couple shows on the band’s calendar recently, as we slowly creep towards the long-awaited new album.
When it was announced last month, Julian Casablancas shared some thoughts on his support for Sanders: “We are honored to be associated with such a dedicated, diligent, & trustworthy patriot — and fellow native New Yorker! As the only truly non-corporate candidate, Bernie Sanders represents our only chance to overthrow corporate power and help return America to democracy. This is why we support him.” (Obviously support for Bernie in the indie community is not rare, but another artist who has been passionately talking about Sanders of late is Zola Jesus, which is amusing because Amy Klobuchar is her cousin.)
Tonight, the Strokes hit the stage right after speeches from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders himself. There was a sort of big group hug, and the band took their spots, Fab Moretti sitting behind a kit adorned with what social media teasers and posters have suggested is the art for a new album called The New Abnormal. From there, they kicked off a set that opened with a cover of Talking Heads’ “Burning Down The House” before sliding into a mixture of old favorites (“Hard To Explain” and “Someday”), pseudo deep cuts (“Killing Lies” and “One Way Trigger”), and new songs including the live debut of “Bad Decisions.” (In the past day, there’s been a supposed tracklist for The New Abnormal circulating on Reddit — it includes the previously debuted songs “The Adults Are Talking” and “Ode To The Mets,” as well as “Bad Decisions.”)
Later in the set, the band also debuted “At The Door,” but didn’t play it themselves — instead, a cartoon video and the recording of the song played through the jumbotron. While “Bad Decisions” felt particularly like classic Strokes, “At The Door” was a bit different, built on moody, grainy synths without any real percussion. Afterwards Casablancas said that the lights that had been flashed at earlier points in the set were safety warnings from the police, so they decided to say goodbye with one more song — an “old favorite,” “New York City Cops.” By the end, fans were dancing onstage and a real life New Hampshire Cop was also onstage and clearly displeased with Casablancas.
But before the final song, Casablancas also offered an aside: The new Strokes album is out 4/10. So, a lot going on here! Check out video from the performance below, starting around the two hours and 23 minute mark.
— Rusteen Honardoost (@rusteenh) February 11, 2020
“Burning Down The House”
“One Way Trigger”
“Hard To Explain”
“The Adults Are Talking”
“The Modern Age”
“Ize Of The World”
“The End Has No End”
“You Only Live Once”
“At The Door” (Recording via jumbotron)
“New York City Cops”