Words & Photos by Diane DiMemmo

September 13, 2021

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It seems like the “Strange Days” aren’t yet over! The weather did not cooperate on Thursday, September 9th when international rockstars, The Struts, were scheduled to play the Stone Pony Summer Stage in Asbury Park. Sadly, the sets for all the opening bands were canceled and, in a twist, The Struts decided to play two full sets inside the Stone Pony. Ticketholders could choose to attend either the 8:00 or 10:30 set.

Arriving for the first show, I was barely able to squeeze my way to the photo pit. The place was PACKED with so many excited fans that it was extremely apparent The Struts belong on large stages and in arenas that match the magnitude of their superstardom and allure. This was my sixth time attending a Struts show (three of them being in Asbury Park) and as a music reviewer and fan, I find it so exciting to watch the rising success of musicians like this; especially since they were not wholly embraced by fans from their home country of England. The Struts originally registered on the billboards right here in the US and have been on the rise ever since.

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The guys burst onto the stage and hammered home three of their biggest hits “Primadonna Like Me,” “Body Talks,” and “Kiss This” right out of the gate. There is no warming up for Luke Spiller (vocals, piano), Adam Slack (guitar), Jed Elliott (bass), and Gethin Davies (drums)! The energy of the band is unparalleled, hence their decision to play a double-header at the last minute to appease their fans.

Sprinkled throughout the set were singles from their new album Strange Days - “I Hate How Much I Want You,” “Wild Child,” and “Strange Days.” These singles were recorded with Phil Collen and Joe Elliott of Def Leppard; Tom Morello; and Robbie Williams respectively, during quarantine. What’s amazing about The Struts’ new music is how quickly it’s evolving to more than the glam rock genre they were labeled with following their first album. After working with these iconic musicians, you can really hear the versatility and see the potential for The Struts when they incorporate the elements of big hair band anthems, heavy metal rock, and popular music that appeals to the masses. And their fans absolutely dig and embrace the band’s evolving style as opposed to resisting it.

Another new single they played was the lesser known “Am I Talking to The Champagne (or Talking To You).” Well, let me tell you, this tune was one of the highlights of the night and should be included in all their performances! The thumping bass line pulls you through the R&B-infused dreamy tune with a catchy, hummable chorus. Such a brilliant song!!!

Of course, no night at The Stone Pony is complete without a nod to Bruce Springsteen. Luke joked with the audience as if he were confiding, “This is a song that we’ll only play here for you tonight.” Then he and guitarist Adam Slack moved into an acoustic version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” to which every fan sang along (see video below). When they finished the heartfelt rendition, the crowd shouted out “BRUUUUUCE” in unison.

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As the night progressed, we were treated to a sick, technically advanced guitar solo by Adam Slack who mesmerized the crowd with his musical nuances and runs. Then the band jumped right back with four more hit singles ending the set with "Could Have Been Me.”

The Struts are an amazingly fun band, plain and simple. Yet there’s something more percolating here. After the success they’ve achieved with their first three albums, it’s clear that they won’t be content to keep pumping out the same formula that got them to this point. They want to innovate and expand the breadth of their sound with the incorporation of various genres, techniques, and styles. And the incredible thing about it is that the four of them have the chops and personalities to pull it off. THAT is a band destined for superstardom.

Make a point to catch The Struts during their "Strange Days Are Over" Tour! You will not be disappointed!! Tickets can be purchased here.

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SETLIST ~ Show One

Primadonna Like Me / Body Talks / Kiss This / I Hate How Much I Want You / One Night Only / Hungry Heart (Bruce Springsteen Cover) / Put Your Money On Me / Am I Talking To The Champagne (Or Talking To You) / Guitar Solo by Adam Slack / Wild Child / I Do It So Well / Strange Days / Could Have Been Me

SETLIST - Show Two

Put Your Hands Up~These Times Are Changing~Bulletproof Baby~All Dressed Up (With Nowhere To Go)~Only Just A Call Away~Where Did She Go / Body Talks / Kiss This / I Hate How Much I Want You / Fire (Part 1) / Low Key In Love / Dirty Sexy Money / Rebel Rebel (David Bowie Cover) / I Do It So Well / Livin' On A Prayer (Bon Jovi Cover) / Strange Days / Could Have Been Me

"Hungry Heart" (Bruce Springsteen cover)

Video courtesy of Tara Adams

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Diane DiMemmo is an avid concert fanatic and former musician who snuck cameras into venues for years before entering the pit as a professional photographer. After her first visit to Asbury Park, she immediately fell in love with its music community and recognized the need for a Jersey Shore publication to highlight the accomplishments of local and national musicians through photos and press. Asbury Park Vibes has been her labor of love ever since, along with her Golden Retriever – Cooper – who you’ll often see walking Diane through the streets of Asbury.

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