The City of Brotherly Love has embraced The Struts since they first started playing the States and were ready to entertain the lucky 5,000 who could get tickets to the two SOLD OUT shows at The Fillmore. If you follow the rabid fan account “Strutters” on Facebook, then you quickly realize this was a major event with many fans traveling from far away to get glittered for the shows.
The Struts feature; Luke Spiller – vocals, Adam Slack – guitar, Jed Elliott – bass, and Gethin Davies – percussion. The band continues to get bigger every year, from their initial break, opening for The Rolling Stones in France, opening for The Who in Canada, handpicked by Motley Crue to open, and an extensive tour with The Foo Fighters who has described them as the best opening band ever!
When I arrived at The Fillmore, I saw the normal extended line of fans outside the doors which happens when fans want to get the rail. The odd thing about this day was that it was only 2:30pm, and the line went halfway done the block. Front Row Perspective has shot every performance the band has played in the Philadelphia area, on this weekend, we were given exclusive access to hang with the band. This weekend is going to epic!!!
The vibe backstage was very mellow as the band was ready to play two sold out nights in their other hometown of Philadelphia. Once I unpacked my gear in the production office, I wandered around the venue looking for the best locations to shoot the band. The band then took the stage for their soundcheck. It was interesting to see the band playing through tunes, even with the numerous pauses and stops as the levels were getting set up for the various sound systems involved. Finally, towards the end of the session the band played lengthen numbers and even strayed off into guitar improvisation by Adam. It was surreal to see the band so relaxed as they played.
The Underground Thieves (Philadelphia based band) opened on both nights and was a perfect selection, not just because Philly loves Philly, but because the band really got the crowd pumped for The Struts each night. The six-member band was tight and led by Nick “Poncho” Perri with their biggest hit “Whole Lotta Money” being the highlight of the sets. Back in the dressing rooms, The Struts were told of a sneaky marriage proposal plan which would take place unbeknownst to the future bride during the middle of Saturday’s set.
As the house lights went down, and each band member entered the stage waving enthusiastically to the crowd, the maestro of the evening runs out on stage. Luke Spiller is a walking energy drink performing at a 1000% percent all night and uses the entire stage. Throughout the evening, he had the crowd waving, jumping, giving “Jazz Hands”, getting down to the ground and finally jumping in the air, and they LOVED it. By the end of the night, everyone is covered in sweat. The Saturday show itself was incredible with a total of 16 songs, 2 unplugged versions (“Mary Go Around” & “Somebody New”) and included a very nice guitar solo by Adam which was pure energy and emotion. FYI, the proposal plan went perfectly, and she said yes, with a complete look of surprise/joy as everyone in the venue had huge smiles.
During Sunday’s soundcheck, Nick Perri came out to jam on “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, I thought this was just a cool jam session. Sunday’s show had the same setlist except for a few new gems added!!! After the acoustic version of “Mary Go Around” with Adam on guitar, Luke announced a new song, “Lowkey In Love”, and the crowd ate it up. The song played very well with Luke and Adam, it will be a huge hit in 2020. Luke then announced that Nick Perri would be joining them. As Nick, plugged in his Gibson and took position next to Adam on the stage, the band launched into “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” live. This really got the house jumping as each member got some 1 on 1 eye contact. Interesting enough, the band’s next planned gig was to play on Television for the NBC New Year’s Eve celebration show in Nashville, hosted by Keith Urban and fed live to the masses across the US. During that show Keith played with the band on “Lowkey In Love” (not aired, go to YouTube) and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” (which was aired).
This is a perfect example of how the band is constantly evolving. Adam recently posted that he is updating his pedalboard for an expanded sound. Luke and Adam have been working together on their time off, and Luke Spiller recently told Eddie Trunk on Trunk Nation (Sirius/XM) that he is moving to Los Angles, California in January. Luke said that his creativity seems to be getting more accomplished during his down time as reflects on the tour experiences.
It’s been great to follow and support this band through the years. The shows are an experience (crowd confetti), the music is infectious, and their success grows every year. However, the bigger the band gets the more they stay grounded with their fans (something rare). This band still holds meet & greets, still has time for a quick hello either before or after a gig if you’re lucky enough to catch them. If you get a chance, treat yourself to a Struts experience, and you too will leave the show sweaty and glitter, now explain that to your significant other?!?
Click HERE to visit the band’s website for 2020 tour dates and festivals!!!
Article and Photographs by: Bob Linneman