By Donovan Roche
British glam rockers The Struts have enjoyed an impressive run since releasing their U.S. debut album, Everybody Wants, in 2016. They’ve opened for The Rolling Stones, The Who and Foo Fighters, and have become a music festival staple. So it came as a surprise to learn the band, which last performed here in July at Observatory North Park, would be performing an intimate show at SOMA on Feb. 28.
According to charismatic frontman Luke Spiller, the gig – the first in a four-stop Tour de California presented by Harley-Davidson – is a warm-up before the band, which recently moved from the UK to Los Angeles, hits it hard for the rest of the year. This includes embarking on their headlining Make It Big Tour in late May and playing numerous fests, including Boston Calling, Bonnaroo and Firefly.
“I love music festivals,” Spiller said. “I love getting up there and winning over the crowd, getting the best reaction possible, just showing everyone how it’s meant to be done, you know?”
If you’ve ever attended a Struts performance before, one thing becomes immediately clear: they come out full tilt from the get-go, performing each song as if it’s their encore. In describing the approach, Spiller quotes a member of another British rock band, The Darkness. “One of my heroes, Justin Hawkins, once said, ‘If it’s worth doing, it’s worth over-doing.’ And it makes sense. You should be giving the audience something; helping them let go of their inhibitions and enjoy the experience.”
The four-piece (which also includes guitarist Adam Slack, bassist Jed Elliott and drummer Gethin Davies) is currently touring on their sophomore effort, YOUNG&DANGEROUS. Released in 2018, the album yielded the top 15 hit “Body Talks,” which enjoyed a resurgence as a remix featuring Kesha, and the braggadocios “Primadonna Like Me,” the video for which was partly filmed during the band’s Observatory North Park gig in August of that year.
In addition to fan faves like “Could Have Been Me,” “Kiss This” and “One Night Only,” Spiller suggested the band will unveil a couple new songs at SOMA on Friday, and he anticipates they should be released before summer. “We’ve definitely gone down some different avenues with the stuff we’ve been working on,” he said. “I don’t want to give it away but it’s fantastic, and it’s not what people are going to expect whatsoever.”
For Spiller and The Struts, though, the greatest part of making music is the positive impact it can have on young listeners. “If you can inspire a whole generation of kids between like 10 and 16 years old to pick up a guitar and say, ‘Yeah, let’s do this’…. Being in a band when you’re that age is the best experience ever. It’s a bond you can’t replicate with anyone else. Especially when you’re in your mid-to-late teens and you’re just dreaming. It’s magic.”
Tickets for the all-ages SOMA show, which includes opener Starcrawler, can be purchased for only $29.50 here.
Donovan Roche has covered the world of music for the past 30 years. Send your story idea to email@example.com.
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