The Strokes

By early evening on Sunday, the mud had turned to clay and even one of the giant TV screens had fallen down. The setting cried out for heroes and a decade after their show stealing promotion to the Main Stage, The Strokes had returned. Judging by the many t-shirts emblazoned with their retro logo, hopes were high for the New Yorkers and after the screams had died down from their arrival onstage the band nonchalantly began 'Is This It'.

Tracks from their debut album still sounded as potent and timeless as they did that afternoon, whilst now familiar to millions, 'New York City Cops' and 'Someday' maintained that vitality. Few bands could look this good amidst such grey surroundings with lead singer Julian Casablancas in a black leather jacket and shades, even if he did drawl 'good morning'. 'Reptilia' proved that they were still on their game with pulsating basslines and Nick Valensi's exhilarating guitar solos. In comparison, the likes of 'Macchu Picchu' and 'Life Is Simple In The Moonlight' sounded almost by numbers with enough effort to just about get away with. Only a stirring performance of 'Last Nite' seemed to redeem them and lifted the crowd as a lit flare gave the scene an eerie urgency.

Even '12:51', a track so blase, so 80s that it could soundtrack the original Tron movie sounded even more notably relaxed. Yet when they decided to strip down 'Under Control' it worked; shorn of the detachment the track flourished in its bravura minimalism. The band themselves looked nonplussed as the limpness of 'Hard To Explain' suggested they were simply here to do a job. By then Casablancas' casual delivery was beginning to grate as he missed lines and notes and even the basketcase track 'Juicebox' sounded weak.

Their closing track, 'Take It Or Leave It', seemed to succinctly address the issue. Maybe their popularity goes before them, maybe there are inter-band rivalries but a bit of effort would have gone down well. That they strolled offstage without much of a cursory glance said more words than their poor set merited.