The Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas has responded to criticism that emerged after the band’s headlining performance at this year’s Roskilde festival.
The band performed at Roskilde last Saturday (July 2), closing out the Danish festival’s four-day roster. According to setlist.fm, their set – which consisted of 14 songs – started half an hour behind schedule and featured “lots of erratic and endless banter from Casablancas”.
Punters on the ground were less reserved in their assessments, with one writing on Twitter that Casablancas appeared “stiffer than a student on a wagon ride”. Another joked that “everyone [at] Roskilde wants what The Strokes have taken”, and joked that “on the plus side, it’s probably the last time [Roskilde] invites The Strokes”.
In a since-deleted post shared on Instagram (per Stereogum), Casablancas shot back at rumours that he was heavily intoxicated during his performance. “I’m not tuned into Twitter things enough to know what some confused fan thinks or pretends they know,” he wrote, “but I’m fine… far as I know … people been asking me weiiird questionnns [sic] – ahh the dumb side of social media… Lame-Os running around so hard and free.”
Casablancas went on to clarify that he considered the “concerns and questions” from genuine fans to be “kind and fine”, and that it was “the strangers announcing [or] acting like they know some shit that’s dumb”.
Videos from the show seem to validate claims of Casablancas’ erratic banter. In one clip, the singer spends roughly a minute riffing on the perceived absurdity of Danish words like ‘mackerel’ and ‘cream’ – which led to the crowd emphatically chanting the Danish word for ‘cream’, ‘fløde’. Another clip shows Casablancas introducing ‘Last Nite’ with a two-minute spiel lamenting the concept of encores.
Have a look at both clips below:
The Strokes are currently on tour in support of their sixth studio album, 2020’s ‘The New Abnormal’. Reviewing their set at the Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona, NME’s Ella Kemp said Casablancas performed with “feverish energy”, and pointed out that he did treat fans to “small talk and jokes and frequent rambles”.
Kemp continued to say that “Casablancas’ puzzling behaviour still [left] room for an impressive performance music-wise”, declaring that “the power of the set” was “undeniable” and that the setlist offered “a celebration old and new of the [band’s] most infectious hits”.