"BBQ before the show was a bad choice," Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas joked before launching into the band's encore-ending song "Last Night," at Austin, TX's Auditorium Shores as an elaborate fireworks display lit up the city skyline.
That single moment summed up the New York band's free South By Southwest performance perfectly: Thousands of fans gathered at the 25,000-capacity outdoor venue to eat local food, gasp at the Austin backdrop and take in the unexpected surprises the festival has to offer.
The Strokes' appearance comes on the brink of the group's upcoming release, "Angles," due March 22 via RCA. The effort is the band's first output since 2006's "First Impressions of Earth," which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200.
The Strokes previewed several tunes off the new set, including the excellent, return-to-form first single "Under Cover of Darkness," "Gratisfaction" and "Life is Simple in the Moonlight," while sounding slightly more disconnected pummeling through darker rockers like "You're So Right."
Fan-favorite standards like "Hard to Explain" and "Someday," from the group's breakthrough 2001 debut "Is This It," as well as "What Ever Happened" and "Reptillia" off 2003's "Room On Fire" found the Strokes in peak form, bringing out the garage rock sensibilities that a decade ago changed the rock music landscape.
The SXSW performance kicks off a number of festival appearances the group has lined up over the spring and summer, including stops at Coachella and Bonnaroo, as well as a stop at New York's Madison Square Garden on April 1.
Here is the set list for the Strokes' SXSW performance:
What Ever Happened
The Modern Age
You Only Live Once
Under Cover of Darkness
New York City Cops
You're So Right
Life Is Simple in the Moonlight
I Can't Win
Taken For a Fool
Take it Or Leave It
Hard to Explain