Great Hall, Cardiff University Students Union, Thurs 17 Oct
There are few bands out there that can match The Struts for swaggering showmanship, but there’s no doubt who the real star of the show is. Although not a household name (yet), frenetic frontman Luke Spiller possesses the energy of an entire Duracell bunny factory. A pre-gig mixtape of Oasis vs Blur, Tom Jones’ Delilah and, er, Gary Glitter whips the crowd into a frenzy at Cardiff University. Then Spiller flaunts onstage and takes it up where the DJ left off.
Starting with the glam rock stomp of Primadonna Like Me, Spiller is a mess of extravagant spangles and he’s already saturated in sweat by the second song. Dave Grohl has labelled The Struts as the best support act Foo Fighters have ever had, and it’s no wonder when you see the theatrical aplomb with which they deliver songs like Body Talks, Kiss This and Dirty Sexy Money.
Their influences may be obvious, but they wear them proudly on the sleeves of their jumpsuits. With his tousled jet-black hair and chiselled cheekbones, Spiller even bears an uncanny resemblance to Freddie Mercury – especially when he’s belting out a ballad from behind the piano. He commands the crowd with the masterful stroke of a conductor; directing alternating halves of the room before orchestrating a mass sit-down and then pin-drop silence for an acoustic version of Mary Go Round.
An unsuspecting soul is even plucked from the floor to help out on one chorus, and Kyle Falconer makes a special guest appearance for a raucous rendition of The View’s Same Jeans. Still showing no signs of fatigue, Spiller closes the encore with Could Have Been Me, but you certainly get the feeling The Struts could have carried on all night.
words NEIL COLLINS photos TIM ALBAN