Julian Casablancas is back doing what he likes best, which is not what we like best. We like his silky voice in its full-throated croonery, layered on crisp droning melancholy tracks like he did with the Strokes. But with his new band The Voidz he rasps and rattles in the best punky fashion to moshy sweaty audiences.
The result is edgy and destroys the tween-hearthrob air which hung over Casablancas after his 2009 viral “Boombox” with Andy Samberg and Lonely Island and last year’s easy-listening collaboration with Daft Punk, “Instant Crush.” Though tight and controlled and too thinky like even the thrashiest punk nowadays—it’s getting harder and harder to find a place to stomp around unpolitely—it is refreshing to see Casablancas stay out of the spotlight and focus less on his image than the sounds he makes. He does this literally, in fact: at no point in the show are the lights on him, so that he is a silhouette merely, disappearing into a yelling, grunting almost-grunge.
Don’t go to this concert expecting to see Julian Casablancas, because you won’t. What you’ll see is the perplexing effort of someone finding new registers in a new sound, and trying to shed and shred an image.