tl I I It They keep coming back and they keep getting bigger. THE STROKES are

kicking off a sell-out tour in Scotland

and they want it to be the best yet. Words: Vicky Davidson with Doug Johnstone

t's incredible to think that twelve months ago. The Strokes

didn‘t exist in your life. You weren‘t playing their retro-

tastic debut album Is This It to death. You weren't nodding your head to ‘Last Night‘ every morning on the breakfast show in the car on your way to work. And you certainly wouldn‘t have been jamming phonelines to get hold of tickets for their gigs.

Currently being embraced by our Eurochums over the Channel. The Strokes are about to embark on their biggest UK tour to date. [I sold out in days and the touts will be booking exotic hols the day after the ticketless desperates have shelled out sums that could easily go into three figures. if past sell-out shows are any gauge.

lt's fitting that they kick it all off in Scotland. scene of

some of the most important landmarks in their careers. and some of the most memorable gigs we’ve been privileged to witness in the last twelve months.

The journo feeding frenzy leading up to their gig at Edinburgh's Venue last June was beyond daft. previously cynical hacks selling firstboms for a spot on the tightest guest list in living memory. Pandemonium ensued at the door as nervy scribes discovered promised spots had disappeared. After much umming and ahhing we were in. the lucky ones at least. but our mates sneaked in the emergency exit later on so it all worked out fine.

The atmosphere in the place was sweaty and verging on hysterical and we hadn't even had the crappy support bands yet. Lager secured. we stood sneering at Mull Historical Society‘s lukewarm pop and Moldy Peaches’ ridiculous artschool angst. waiting impatiently for rock’n‘roll epiphany on a stick.

And waited. And waited. What's that. something‘s happening“? Oh shit. it‘s just Finley Quaye arriving noisily. What's that? Oh. it‘s just a pished guy shouting and falling over. A lot.

And then they were on. C asablancas and co looking utterly steaming and impossibly cooooool. And as gigs go it was nigh on perfect. as the band. shambolic and wired. clattered through all twelve of their tunes (only twelve tunes how cool is that?) with scarcely a nod towards the chaos in front and all around them.

Drunk guy heckled some. C asablancas ripped the piss out of him. We laughed. They played forty minutes. no encore and finished by throwing stuff around and storming off in a strop. Like I said. nigh on perfect.

Their T in the Park experience in July the biggest 01" of

26 THE LIST 111—28 Mar 2002

their career so far fast became the stuff of legend. Moptop drummer Fab Moretti says of their first UK festival appearance on that dismal Perthshire Saturday: ‘We come from a sort of small club mentality. and suddenly we were playing in front of thousands.‘

A last-minute addition to the main stage (stepping in after Wee/er snubbed their fans. going off to shoot a video in LA instead). they fired the curiosity and undoubtedly the cynicism radars and hype deflectors of the 45.()()()-strong Balado crowd. pulling probably the biggest audience the stage has ever seen that early in the day.

‘To us. it was a great opportunity.‘ says liab. ‘II was our biggest gig. It was scary. but it was swell. What you receive is what you give out at a gig. It's just fun. But it was a big step in our progress. It was through playing festivals that we were thrown into this new world.‘

The most talked-about band in Britain were flown in on a specially hired private jet from the Kristiansand l’estival in Norway for their appearance. second on the bill. sandwiched between Tom McRae and The Dandy Warhols.

(‘asablancas. looking a little more ruffled and somewhat less svelte than his earlier L'K outings. spent half the set looking terrified and clutching the mic with his eyes closed.

‘We always make sure we play better than we’ve ever played before’