By theajaysharma

San Diego, CA, 4th & B
February 3, 2002

Why can't the Strokes just be good. Some people love them to death, some people hate their guts, I on the other hand can't decide! I think their album is super catchy and really fun, but it also sounds really weak and stupid at the same time. So I had a hard time deciding when my friend asked me to go to the Strokes show, but I eventually agreed.

The doors open at eight and while I usually try to find out when the band starts (and walk in five minutes prior), I wasn't familiar with the 4th and B so my friends and I decided to get there a little early. We arrived at 7:30 and there was already a line forming outside, but instead of waiting around, we got something to eat and hung out in a bar for a little while just to get the Superbowl score. Downtown San Diego is pretty nice, it was a Sunday so a lot of things closed early but it just felt better than walking around the Sunset strip waiting for a show.

We eventually roll back to the venue and get inside around 8:30. The shirts were twenty bucks and just had a Strokes logo on the front. The 4th and B can hold a couple thousand easy and it's split between the seats in the back and the floor. My friends and I went up to the top and sat down for the first opening act.

This dude strolls on stage wearing a bright red gown, like the kind you would graduate high school with. He reaches behind the drum kit and presses "play" on a little DAT machine (I'm assuming) and these super cheesy beats start blaring through. Seconds later he starts rapping over them and I realize that this is a fuckin' train wreck. We bolt out of there and find out that this guy is one of two opening bands and the Strokes don't hit the stage until 11pm. Since we're just about fed up with this guy we head back to the car and just chill out there until about 10:45.

We get back into the venue as the second band, Longview, was leaving the stage. Again, we cruise up to the top of the seats and get a nice view, I wasn't too interested in going up to the front of the stage so sitting in the back was cool for me. One of the cool things about the 4th and B is that they have a curtain open and close between bands. So you can't see them and the anticipation is raised that much more. There might be something really cool behind the curtain but you and I both know it's just a drum kit, a mic stand and some amps.

The Strokes finally get on stage and open the show with 'Is This It?'. The sound is good, the band sounds tight, the vocals are a little low though. Their next song is 'The Modern Age' and Julian Casablancas sings about two lines then hands the mic over to a member in the audience. Now while this is cute and funny, for a verse, it isn't funny for the whole damn song! He just stumbles around while some dude in the crowd is busting out the vocals. I've never seen anything like it.

Julian takes over for the next song but then grows tired and passes the mic off to some girl on the side of the stage and she finishes out the song. I was getting pretty pissed until he announced that his voice is trashed and he's just trying to keep the gig going. I'm just glad that he decided to rest up his voice by drinking a boatload of booze or smoking whatever because he was totally wasted. So the band pretty much just pushes on while Julian has trouble with 'New York City Cops'. First he starts swinging the mic around, then the mic stand. From where I was standing it looked like he was going to hit the audience! He was so frustrated that I thought he was going to walk off stage when the dude who opened up the show walked out, grabbed the mic and sang the rest of the song. It was really cool, because he kinda saved the gig in my opinion. A few songs later they played 'Last Nite' and the lead singer from the second opening band, Longview, came out to help out with the vocals. I must mention that during all this the band sounds tight. And this is how it remained for the rest of the evening. Julian sang some but most of the vocals came from random audience members and the lead singers from the two support bands.

We left at midnight and didn't even wait for the encore because the chances of them coming back out was very remote. Even though it was pretty fun watching them self-destruct on stage, I would have preferred the promoter just canceling the gig and refunding my money to a crappy gig.