Review by James Attwood with Photography by Robert Barrett

In support of their second release ‘Virtue’ earlier this year, The Voidz will play a handful of European dates this fall that includes stops at the pitchfork festival and a two night residency at Village Underground London.

The Voidz

When I heard that Julian Casablancas was to set foot in Birmingham, I just knew I had to try and bag myself a ticket. The venue, the Mill which is located in the ‘arty’ Digbeth area of the city has only recently re-opened, originally called the Rainbow. I was intrigued as to what vibe the venue would give, after passing Jimmy Nailor from the Pigeon Detectives at the box office, it was clear initially that the new main room was much smaller than it previously was as the Rainbow name, making it great for intimate gigs. Due to the early doors time and the support being given a 20 minute slot only, with an early curfew of 10pm, I was confused initially to what the night would hold.

The Voidz

Support came from Melbourne rapper/songwriter and producer Promiseland, who delivered a high energy set of trashy beats and lyrical wizardry. He made the venue his own, venturing upstairs into the balcony area before hanging off it and making his way to the bar, where he then delivered a rendition of one of his tracks to the amusement of the bar staff. However, by the end of his set, the room was still only half full and mainly of an older age group, making his performance quite awkward at times with Promiseland AKA Johann Rashid dancing on his own in areas of the venue where there was no one.

Promiseland

The Voidz arrived onstage, looking like a cross between a diamond encrusted leather clad Kiss and Crystal Castles with their hooded black jackets. Their sound is as schizoid as their image, however they have found a mid point between the indie guitar interplay of the Strokes and sludge electro punk, which in a live setting go hand in hand.

The Voidz

Screams of “I love you Julian” welcome the Strokes frontman onstage, who comments that sometimes he would rather ‘wear a bag over his head’ than be known as the singer of an iconic band. It’s clear from Casablancas’ comment that there won’t be any Strokes songs this evening, with the guitar riffery of Pyramid of Bones being the closest thing to Juicebox heard all night. Julian delivers a physical performances and commands the small stage seemingly better than he ever did as the Strokes frontman on some of the world’s biggest stages. Still though, Julian’s stage presence and vocal delivery doesn’t make up for the half empty room and still crowd, which is largely down to age and sees the very few younger folk in attendance dancing despite.

The VoidzThe Voidz

The set is plagued with technical difficulties, resulting in very lengthy breaks between tracks and mumbling into the mics from both the band and Julian. ‘QYURRYUS’ goes down well with the crowd with it’s heavy electronic beats and robotic vocoder vocals. ‘All wordz are made up’ gets a similar response and sees the crowd dance along to the cowbell heavy rhythm.

A seemingly short set reaches an abrupt end as Julian leaves the stage, with the band following soon after. They thank the crowd, who are left wanting more. However as the techs take to the stage, it appears they are turning off all of the equipment and packing up, this leaves the crowd confused and as I look around I can see many an annoyed face. It becomes apparent soon after that there will be no encore this evening, creating an uncomfortable tension in the atmosphere.

The Voidz

From what I did see of the Voidz I was impressed but unsure of whether it was the band’s decision to end the set or the venues strange time constraints, either way I look forward to the Strokes announcing some new live dates.

The Voidz

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