Rock’s Nearly Forgotten Ingenues Play to a Vacationing Campus

Considering the number of times “the Strokes” and “the future of rock and roll” appeared together in a sentence back when the band broke out in 2001, it must feel good for them to make it to 2006 in one piece (and not go the way of, say, Pete Doherty and co.). Two albums later, far seem the silly old days when the Strokes were revered as much for their slick ties as their music, and teenage girls analyzed each of the young prep school graduates’ favorite ice cream flavors. While nobody can live up to that kind of hysterical hype, time heals all, giving the tight New York fivesome a chance to show that they were just, well, a pretty damn good rock band. Is there really any more to ask for?

What made the Strokes more than a flash in the pan of would-be shaggy-haired saviors was their sexy juxtaposition of unpretentiously catchy, smart guitar hooks and Julian Casablanca’s faux-blase tin-can vocals. Simple beauty is in simple contrasts. And simplicity is the Strokes’ credo in the studio, too, granting them improbable comparisons to basically every band from the ’60s to the ’80s thanks to their lack of lace and frills.

After following their delectable debut Is This It with the spotless sequel Room On Fire, the Strokes may have caught a mild case of the junior slump with their third, First Impressions of Earth, released in January. If the album is hit (“Juicebox”) and miss (“Ask Me Anything”), though, it’s only because the Strokes stick their scruffy necks a little further out of their collars. Casablanca suddenly sings like he does give a damn — he is a married man now, ladies. This may just translate into a new live dynamic, as the Strokes have a clinging reputation for giving suitably detached performances. But fair-weather fans, fear not; early reports from the road point to an extensive, heavily Is This It-nostalgic set list.

If you were planning to be boring and stay put over break, redeem yourself and catch the show.

The Strokes and the Eagles of Death Metal will perform at RIMAC Arena on March 28. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and the UCSD Box Office for $25.

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