Story and Photos: Spencer Fleming
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Now back to the story.....
If you weren't at Stir Cove Thursday night (9/22) I openly weep for you! Judging by the modest crowd that braved the rain and chilly weather, many of you missed out on what was (in my opinion) the best show of the year so far. I know our other writers will tell you Greta Van Fleet was the best show, but they've got nothing on the magnificent Struts!
Coming all the way from the U.K. on their "Across The Pond" tour, The Struts blasted their way through 75 minutes of glorious power pop giving Stir Cove attendees a tremendous bang for their buck. This was my second time seeing the band and being that this was a headline show it was even better this time around.
I became familiar with The Struts sometime around 2014 when I heard their single "Could Have Been Me" on our local rock station 89.7 The River. Around that same time The River did a contest where listeners could win an excursion with The Struts in downtown Omaha and tickets to a show. I remember hearing ads for the contest but I never got the chance to call in and win. If I had a time machine I'd go back and make sure I listened every waking minute with multiple phones on speed dial! I continued to follow along when The Struts would release new singles to radio, but it would be a long four years until the band made their way back to Nebraska. I was finally able to catch them when they played with Shinedown last year and since then I've been hooked. I was so grateful when I got the approval to shoot another Struts show and to make things even better I got to bring my dad this time.
The day before the show I got the approval email with set times for the bands. On the poster it didn't have an opening band listed so I was curious to see who would be playing. The email said The Struts go on at 9:00 PM, The Haunts go on at 8:00 PM. I had never heard of The Haunts so I decided to look them up. About half of the time I'll just go to the show with no reference for the opening bands hoping to be surprised, but sometimes I'll research ahead of time. I found The Haunts on Spotify and I was really digging their tunes. They have an indie-pop sound similar to the Strokes and the singer has a bit of a monotone voice like Paul Banks from Interpol.
When my dad and I arrived at the show we set up some chairs back by the soundboard. After a few minutes I made my way to the photo pit in front of the stage. I started talking with fellow photographer Bob Dehart and some die-hard Strutters (Struts fans) who were rocking the rail, so I didn't pay any attention to the gear on stage. As the clock struck 8:00 some band members stepped forth. I quickly realized there was a female lead singer and a female bass player. I thought to myself "I don't remember The Haunts having a female singer". I looked over at the drum kit and it said "The Haunt". I started laughing hysterically as I realized it wasn't "The Haunts", but "The Haunt". I shot The Haunt back in May when they opened for The HU! Oh what a difference an "S" makes. The Haunt are a four piece from Florida fronted by siblings Max and Anastasia Haunt. Rounding out the band are Nick Lewert on Drums and Nat Smallish on bass. I would describe The Haunt as a glam pop-rock version of Evanesence. A lot of their songs are dark and brooding tales of lovers scorned sprinkled over crunchy guitars and upbeat grooves. The Haunt got the crowd fired up and ready to rock.
After a fairly short setup it was time to party with The Struts! As the rain started to fall Luke and the boys arrived with a pep in their step ready to give it their all. They kicked things off with "Primadonna Like Me" from their 2018 release Young and Dangerous before quickly moving to the smash hit "Kiss This". Luke did what he does best and swaggered all over the stage giving everyone a thrill with his new blonde highlights and dazzling smile. "Are you ready baby? We're going to have an exceptional evening".
The crowd was small, but we were mighty, hanging on Luke's every command to scream, ooh, and ahhh!!! Everyone who managed to hang on through the rain was there for a good time and The Struts were happy to oblige. Over the next hour The Struts took us on a ride with their expertly crafted power pop melodies and soaring harmonies.
Towards the end of the show Luke asked how many people were seeing the band for the first time. "We're so happy to be here with you guys. I see a lot new faces out there, but I also see a lot of familiar ones. For those of you coming back thank you so much and to those joining us for the first time, Welcome to the Family!" I know I have a lot of "favorite bands" but The Struts truly are something special. Their songs are so fun to listen to and their live shows are absolute magic. If you get the chance, don't walk, run to see this band. You won't regret it!
A huge thank you to Stir Cove for all the press access we've had this year and putting on one of the best concert seasons yet. We can't wait to do it again next year!
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