Why The Struts are the rock'n'roll band Britain needs
What happened when glam-pop rock’n’rollers The Struts came, saw and conquered at Camden's legendary Dingwalls venue
On July 5, 1976, Ramones played a seminal gig at Dingwalls in Camden, North London. Exactly 40 years later to the night, The Struts are hoping to make history at the same venue. Only they’ll be doing it not with minimalist New York punk, but a mix of glam flamboyance and sheer hard pop-rock attack.
“Young bands think it’s cheesy to ask audiences to clap along,” sniffs Luke Spiller, a 70s Queen-era Spitting Image puppet of Freddie Mercury brought to life, talking before the gig in the dark of Dingwalls while outside it’s gloriously bright sunshine. “We have the opposite ethos. I want them to work as hard as I do and make them leave dripping wet with a big smile on their face.”
Their clothes – mostly designer rock star chic – are enough to induce mile-wide grins. Aberystwyth drum wonder Gethin Davies is wearing a black leather tunic, snakeskin Jeffery West boots and a T-shirt bearing “some Aztec shit”. Devizes bass creator Jed Elliott appears to have stepped in from Oasis ’94, all shaggy bob, white denim jacket, black jeans and John Varvatos boots. Guitarist Adam Slack looks about as louche as anyone from Derby can rightfully expect, with his blond ringlets and assorted jewellery.
Then there’s Bristol-born Spiller, a picture in his gold mermaid-skin boots, Michael Kors watch, array of rings and H&M blouse. “I’m the one who really brings the attire,” announces the frontman, the first rocker since Mercury to receive style tips from Zandra Rhodes. He adds, proudly, “Apart from my shoes, it’s all women’s clothing.” Still, this is nothing compared to what he’ll have on later.
“Our stage outfits are a step up,” warns Elliott. “These are our going‑to-the-airport outfits.”