BEST CONCERT OF THE PAST TWELVE MONTHS

The Strokes at Billboardlive

Critics have been proclaiming the death of rock and roll for so long now, the genre's aesthetic demise is almost taken as a given. Buzzsaw guitars? Crashing drums? A lovesick singer whipping his microphone through the air? Uh, what else ya got, grandpa? So why the Strokes were able to take those three familiar fuzzed-out chords and whip up so much unalloyed excitement during their January Billboardlive concert is anybody's guess. The reference points were certainly clear enough -- a taste of Lou Reed's jaded snarl here, a dash of Television's dueling Telecasters there, even an old-fashioned sing-along. But somehow it all seemed fresh again, full of crackling energy, and the packed audience ate it up with a sweaty, body-tossing frenzy.
 
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