South, Strokes play to underpromoted crowd
Rachel Nix
staff writer
October 12, 2006
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In a smoky haze of purple and green, two bands attempted to rock a sparsely filled auditorium in Muncie, Indiana and left the town forever changed. The Strokes/South show made an impact on this small town in ways they never could have imagined. Rock shows don’t come to east-central Indiana for good reason and Emen’s Auditorium found out that their decision to bring a semi-popular rock band was not a profitable one as the venue lost over $41,000 on the deal. In the country-loving town, not enough students were willing to spend $30 of their hard earned money for one night of rock and roll entertainment. The lack of support seemed to bring down students and bands making it unlikely a rock band will want to come there again for some time.

One thing that breaks my heart is seeing a decent band get stared at for half an hour. Brit-rock instrumentalists South tried their best to bring the audience to their feet but instead saw a mass of blank faces. South’s ambient mix of electronica and rock filled the room lead by the driven vocals of Joel Cadbury and immediately likeable backup from band mates Brett Shaw and Jamie McDonald. The melodic blend of guitar, drums, and keyboards made for a strong indie force that just wasn’t cut out to make a connection with the crowd of 20-somethings waiting for a sing-along. South ended their set on a high note for local music fans as a personal friend of the band, Hubert Glover of Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s, joined the band on trumpet.

In true rock and roll fashion, the Strokes took their time setting up and nearly an hour after South left the stage the Strokes began their set. Eager fans seemed to enjoy the set driven by catchy rock vocals and a blinding light show. The Strokes’ radio-friendly sound brought most of the crowd to their feet and kept them there for an hour and a half of just about every song the Strokes have ever written. Vocalist Julian Casablancas stood out with his rockstar mentality carelessly working the stage and swinging the mic enough to make a techie nerd like me cringe. Strokes fans enjoyed old and new ranging from all three of the Strokes’ albums and even new fans like me enjoyed dance-rock highlights in “Last Nite,” “Juicebox,” and “Someday.” Towards the end, the band seemed to lose their swagger and phoned in a few songs before finishing strong enough to make fans want to fight for drumsticks in the aisle after the show.

Although the show wasn’t heavily attended or advertised, all attendees were treated to a night of rock and roll. Whether or not it was worth their money is debatable but it’s doubtful they’ll have a chance spend it again on a rock show in Muncie any time soon.

[RMR]