You don’t get much higher praise in rock and roll than Noel Gallagher, one of Britain’s foremost songwriters with Oasis as well it’s harshest critic, claiming you to be as exciting as his beloved Stone Roses. Yet, in 2001, that’s exactly what happened as he proclaimed The Strokes to be “the most important band right now in the world” just moments before they deliver a blistering performance of ‘New York City Cops’.
The performance is from T in the Park and sees The Strokes performing just after the release of Is This It. But the sea of jumping fans singing every lyric was a brand new experience for the band with music fans across the pond in their native America a little slow on the uptake. It wouldn’t last though and the band have now risen to ranks of future Hall of Famers.
In fact, recently The Strokes have announced that 2020 will see the band return to making music and with the first taster, ‘At The Door’ arriving via Bernie Sanders rally the stage is certainly set. But one of the more remarkable moments of the show came when the band sang ‘New York City Cops’ surrounded by uniformed officers.
The track which featured as the outbreak moment of the band’s debut record, has forever been a cherished moment in the band’s live set. It’s a set that has humble beginnings in America as the band tried to desperately promote the album with over 100 shows around the club circuit to little fanfare.
Meanwhile, in Europe, before the album had even been released, the hype was beginning to turn into a frenzy as the archetypal wave of New York cool was again beginning to head across the Atlantic. It meant that the group were conversely playing tiny shows in their homeland and taking on huge festival slots in Europe. One such performance saw the band arriving at the notorious T in the Park stage back in 2001.
As ever back in the early noughties the festival had it’s own show on free-to-air TV and saw hosts welcome those who were performing or just milling around the festival most deemed the craziest in the UK. One such guest was Noel gallagher who, in a rare turn of benevolence, actually praised a rock band for once.
The Oasis singer reflects on the “hype” surrounding the band in 2001, “Well I got the record, and as luck would have it when we were out in America they were playing at a nightclub about four hours drive away, so when went in a van and we drove to see ’em,” remembers the discerning Britpop monarch. “And there’s only about 50 people there ‘cos no one has ever heard of them in the States, yet.”
He continues with his glowing endorsement, “And I thought, that night, it was the most exciting thing I’d seen since the Stone Roses,” said Noel Gallagher at the time. “I think they’re the most important band right now in the world for what they may inspire other people to do.” Noel Gallagher would argue that he is very rarely wrong, but we can all agree with this point.
As much as you can debate all day about the subsequent musical path that followed this incendiary moment in The Strokes’ career, you can never debate their impact. From the moment the band walk out on stage at T in the Park to play ‘New York City Cops’ to the rock and roll-thirsty crowd it’s clear as day that things had changed.
The new wave had finally landed.