The Strokes - Apollo, Manchester

Back to promote their third album, the New York five piece delve straight into earlier territory, much to the delight of the crowd packed into a sold out Apollo Theatre on a chilly Monday night. The fluorescent lights brought a cheer from the throng as the projection screen descended from on high and the band took to the stage. The Modern Age blistered out across, around and under us, sending the masses into a frenzy, quickly followed by an electric outing for Juicebox and a a frantic dash through Heart In A Cage, which prompts an almighty singalong.

Feverish devotion bubbled up through the venue for breathtaking run-throughs of former glories like 12:51 and the always astonishing Reptilia - that riff was alive, I swear, reaching out and enslaving the audience, binding them to its will, leaving a froth of deranged, hipster-shaped masses of twirling energy in its wake. Many a pair of Converse were scuffed to the sounds of Last Nite, New York City Cops and You Only Live Once... the musicianship was so tite as to be constricting and we were gasping for air. Julian mumbles and suddenly there's a mellotron on stage and the boys and girls in their leather jackets tumble back down to Earth and swoon to the nursery rhyme simplicity of Ask Me Anything.

Rush after rush follows - Someday, Hard To Explain and The End Has No End. Or does it? I remember it was over, except it wasn't because it began again. Take It Or Leave It is sparkling, one last chance for us to rush back to the front and throw ourselves though the air in slow motion before having to confront the deadening blister of real life once again. As we spilled into the streets we knew it was still right and that they had not lost their cool and that they hadn't forgotten what it meant.

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