It's easy to write off Julian Casablancas as an out-of-touch rocker.
In recent interviews, the former Strokes frontman seems to have the ideology of a teenager who's just discovered Nietzsche. But when Casablancas and his band The Voidz emerged onstage at the Wonder Ballroom on July 27—the first stop on their West Coast tour—they drew eagle-screech-level cheers.
Live, the carefully curated chaos of the Voidz's new album, Virtue, translated to fuzzy, disjointed noise. Still, there were magical moments. During "Father Electricity," guitarists Jeramy Gritter and Amir Yaghmai wove impossibly fragile and intricate guitar riffs in and out of Casablancas' angelic, drunken voice.
Even at 40, Casablancas has a kind of ageless, boyish charm. As red-tinted fog engulfed the stage, Casablancas leaned on his mic stand so deeply, it looked as if he were in the process of a very slow fall, as if the act of singing were slowly depleting him. When the song ended, the crowd erupted so loudly Casablancas looked startled.
Onstage, Casablancas displays a refreshing amount of humility. He often retreated from the front of the stage to allow the guitarists some much-deserved time in the spotlight. He praised his bandmates in between songs. He joked about Creed. Tucked in between the members of the Voidz, Casablancas proved before a sweaty, euphoric crowd that he still deserves his spot on the stage.