The Strokes To Return To New York City On Sept. 12 At Tommy Hilfiger’s Fashion Week Party

by Eric Van Dril · 39 comments

If you haven’t heard, The Strokes will their first New York City show in nearly four years on Sunday, Sept. 12.

First, the details and then why I dislike this decision.

It’ll take place this Sunday, September 12th at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. The catch? The concert, which is part of a celebration for Tommy Hilfiger’s 25th anniversary, is invite only and unless you received an invitation that “resembled a box of ivy” in the mail yesterday, chances are you won’t be attending. [cos] [NYT]

I was pretty harsh about the Tommy Hilfiger gig today on Twitter* and it garnered a lot of mixed response. Some people agreed with the criticism. Some didn’t, arguing that this isn’t that big of a deal, especially compared to a band from Tennessee who used to open for The Strokes. I hope it’s still apparent The Strokes are still my favorite band and that I’m not going to shut this site down in favor of Radiohead or The Black Keys. I won’t do that until I’m disappointed by Strokes IV.

(* You can read my Twitter here, which is the best place to get an idea of my initial reaction after I read the NYT story listed above on my way to work.)

Atlanta de Cadenet

As I’ve had the day to think about why I was so disappointed with this Fashion Week gig, I’ve come up with a pair of reasons. First, I’m convinced the band is doing this for the money. Although Becky valiantly tried to link Nick’s step-daughter’s modeling career as the reason The Strokes are doing this, I don’t buy that they’re just trying to support their bandmate. What little I do know about the party planning for an event like this, I know a ton of money goes into these parties — from the invitations (resembling a box of ivy) to venue (NYC Metropolitan Opera). The Strokes, in my opinion, decided to play this show mainly because of the immense payday that came with the offer.

They’re artists who have spent the last two years recording an album and 3/5ths of the band have a wife and kids, so I guess this decision can be justified in that regard. Plus, a (likely) seven-figure payday for only eight songs is an amazing deal.

The contradiction in accepting the offer to play the Hilfiger party is the reason why the Hilfiger party planning committee likely pinpointed The Strokes as the band they wanted to play the party.

The Strokes are cool.

Everybody has different opinions of why they’re cool, but one of the reasons I think The Strokes are cool is because they didn’t accept offers like this. They might get back together for a reunion festival tour without any new songs for, as Julian said, the money. But those shows served as a reminder of how great a live band they are and celebrated their music.

In my eyes, a Venison-type show would have been perfect for The Strokes’ return to New York City, but that probably doesn’t make fiscal success at this point in the recording process. 

The band’s return to New York City, the city from which they hail and a place still littered with fans who were there back before they recorded Is This It,  is nothing more than a money grab. And even though I saw the first Strokes show in the States since 2006 at Lollapalooza, I feel bad for the fans of the band who, like me, love their music and have waited for four years for their live return only to be left on the outside looking in at an invite-only event.

If the band wants to party with a bunch of models and celebrities, that’s fine. But do they really have to play their first show in New York City in four years in front of Hilfiger and a bunch of other rich people?

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nathali September 9, 2010 at 7:34 pm

I hope that the strokes have that NYC secret show soon so that everyone else can enjoy their music live not just the people who get an invitation for a fashion show. I think after 4 years they own us, the NYC fans, a concert.

2 Bernardo September 9, 2010 at 7:53 pm

well Eric, i read your tweets earlier, and personally i thought it was pretty harsh.But i also feel that you are absolutely right. I love the fact that i was there to see the best band in the world play in the U.S. for the first time in 4 years. But on the other hand I always felt that their first performance should have been in NYC, the place where The Strokes started. So in all fairness, i hope that the 5 of them can provide the True NYC Stroke’s fans a secret show, or a free show.

3 Mary Shea September 9, 2010 at 9:18 pm

Eric, I certainly see where you’re coming from. In fact I’m not totally okay with it either–my gut feeling is not good. However, my logic tells me that, so what if this is what they’re doing? It’s their choice. I don’t know them. Anyway, I’ll be first to admit I miss the Julian who said he thought lip-syncing to a song on film is completely stupid. I miss the Julian from the Nardwaur interview who was adament about not promoting the release date of his own album. It is that coolness factor, you’re exactly right. But when I stop to think about it…that’s a high bar to hold them accountable to. The coolness factor is all part of the fantasy of the Strokes. It’s what makes us idolize them. It’s what separates them from every other band. It’s the appeal. But my logic tells me that the rockstar image shouldn’t matter. I’m doing my best to accept their decisions, because they’re just people, and sometimes I have to remind myself of that. They have their reasons. And if it’s for money, well, who am I to judge? I’d probably do it to. I don’t know…I’m just done caring about things like this too much. They were probably flattered by the invite. Anyway, I don’t like the idea of them rejecting the offer for the sole purpose of maintaining that cool image, either.

Sorry for writing an incomprehensible book.

4 Lou September 9, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Well in all fairness their last NY show was the Hennessy one which was basically a gig supporting cognac that celebrity rappers drink, so is it really any different from what they did 4 years ago? No.

5 Andy September 9, 2010 at 11:59 pm

I’m failing miserably to understand what the big deal is. They’re playing a few old songs, then they’re probably going to join the party, it’s not like they’re throwing a full on comeback show and playing new songs. I bet most people who will be there are probably their friends too, the strokes are already friends with a lot of NYC celebrities, socialites, models, fashion people, etc. Well, the strokes are treated like celebrities themselves.

6 Eric September 10, 2010 at 12:08 am

Here’s why I feel it should be a big deal: let’s say The Strokes announced a show in your hometown, but also announced that it’s invite-only and even though you were a huge fan of the band, you couldn’t go. You would be pissed, wouldn’t you?

And just the fact it’s in New York City, home to thousands of people who have supported them for 10 years and their hometown, makes it worse.

Of course, this is my opinion and it seems like I’m in the minority with this issue.

7 Andy September 10, 2010 at 1:10 am

Well if it was in “my” home town I would be pissed, but I don’t think that’s a fair comparison to make. NYC is their home town, fans from NY can expect them to play the new songs there for the first time, they can expect small intimate shows at small venues like the mercury, and they can expect the strokes to kick off the tour for the 4th LP at Radio City or MSG. What I mean to say is, their fans in NY will get plenty of “strokes” (lol) they will not miss out just because the guys decided to do a private show like many indie bands do during NYFW.

8 Preetha September 10, 2010 at 4:44 am

Ive been following your site for quite a while now. (You’re doing a great job btw) bt I kinda disagree with you on this one. Its not about where they perform first, but how much they give in each performance. Yeah, it would suck if they played for an invite-only show and then not play anywhere else in New York, but if I’m not mistaken they are doing a couple of gigs. So, heck I wouldnt care as long as I get to see them play. Which is never going to happen unless I fly a few thousand miles to America or Europe. :(. (Sorry, I am just jealous) Oh, and I just realized I just paraphrased whatever Andy said. Oh well.

9 Eric September 10, 2010 at 5:12 am

@Preetha – The only gig I heard about was this one? Where did you hear about the other NYC gig? Because if they are playing additional shows, that would change everything and make me change my stance on this show.

10 Jordan September 10, 2010 at 6:08 am

I think she’s just talking about ACL.

11 James September 10, 2010 at 6:52 am

Strokes IV is becoming the next chinese democracy and every time i hear julian open his mouth i cant help but think he’s becoming the next axl rose. I really couldnt care about these shows but cashing in on your first three albums in a reunion tour (of sorts) 4 years after you released your most recent album is a joke.

12 Mic September 10, 2010 at 8:26 am

any word on the secret MHOW show tomorrow night?? is it a Strokes pre-show or what?? i’m willing to take my chances!!

13 Mary Shea September 10, 2010 at 12:06 pm

I think asking the Strokes to play to the public because they have thousands of fans there is a ridiculous request. Sure, I’d be upset if they came to my area and played an invitation-only gig, just because I wouldn’t be able to see them. But how much of their fault is that? Also, they have thousands of fans elsewhere who have not had and will not ever have the opportunity to see the Strokes because of their location. I guarantee you some of The Strokes’ first public shows will be in NYC. Anyway, I’m the type of person who doesn’t believe a musician owes anything to their fans. I don’t like the whole entitled fan thing…it’s absurd to me.

Honestly, if I were a fan in NYC, I’d rather they hold off on public gigs until they’re ready to promote the new album, anyway. Makes it more exciting. Plus, I expect right now, with the exception of this Sunday, they’re working day and night on Strokes IV. I don’t want that interrupted by any more randomly dispersed tour dates!

14 Speedy September 10, 2010 at 1:29 pm

do you think the strokes actually read the thoughts of their fans?? you know, their real fans like us…how we are sort of upset all the time…”all obsessed with fame, says we’re all the same, ooooooohhh i dont see it that waayyyy, i dont see it that way”

15 Sasha September 10, 2010 at 1:56 pm

@MIC whats a MHOW show I tried googling

16 Steph September 10, 2010 at 6:19 pm

If they’re doing it for the money, I think that’s totally understandable. It’s a cool opportunity, and it’s in their hometown, so why wouldn’t they do it? It does suck for NYC fans, but no one needs to take it personally. I’m sure there will be some pretty awesome NYC shows in the future.
It could have been a cooler designer though….I mean Tommy Hilfiger makes me think of dorky sweaters and khaki pants. But what do I know of the fashion world…

17 Lee September 10, 2010 at 6:26 pm

would they have done this 8/9 years ago? If so it’d probably seem a huge contradiction to their attitude and style. It’s a testimony perhaps to how they’ve changed in this time. That’s what bugs me about this whole thing. That and the exclusion of those people who were there at the begining (like you said, Eric)

18 Anna le September 10, 2010 at 7:35 pm

99.00% of Americans will never have dough so feeling bad about exclusive is futile.
Desire brings pain if you don’t want then it will have no power over you.

19 Preetha September 10, 2010 at 9:37 pm

@Eric- my bad, I looked at the wrong dates on their website. So, maybe what you feel is justified.
But why do I get the feeling that people care more about their attitude then the music they make. I get that its a part of their appeal, but.. I feel disappointed that some fans are so upset by something like this. I actually feel happy that even celebrities recognize their talent, or coolness.whatever. At least they know the strokes exist. More then anything I want the strokes to be more well known, not mainstream, just more well known. And yeah i dont mean to offend anyone, just my opinion.

20 Ester September 10, 2010 at 11:18 pm

Julian’s expressed several times that they haven’t reached the level that he knows they should, related to recognition and mass appeal. Throughout the years, it seems they’ve opened themselves up to things they hated doing b/c they understand it’s a part of the machine…like music videos, promotion, interviews, etc. And they’ve been able to turn some of those things into opportunities to do even more with their music. Maybe this is just a step in that process. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or bad thing that they’re the band that was booked to represent “rock’n’roll meets prepster.” And I agree that it’d be better if it was a different designer, and it does suck that their first show back in NY will be invite-only to such a different crowd. Such a stark contrast to the Dingwalls gig. I hope they get the recognition they deserve, but I hope it doesn’t change the essence of who they are in the process.

21 Mary Shea September 11, 2010 at 7:44 am

….Do you think they’ll dress them? That (horrifying) notion just occured to me. Okay, it wouldn’t be the worst thing ever hahah but idk…would the guys even let themselves be “styled”?/random thought.

22 Eric September 11, 2010 at 8:52 am

I’m in transit to watch my brother play (American) football against the University of Illinois, so I won’t be posting anything today. But, according to a report, Danielle Haim has reportedly been in NYC to help Julian with his second solo record. The link can be found at the top of

23 Mic September 11, 2010 at 9:03 am

Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn has a closed private event tonight. Some people were guessing it was a Strokes pre-show. Unfortunately I cant make it so I’m not gonna be able to take a chance. Guess we’ll find out in the morning whether I blew my chance or not.

24 phil September 11, 2010 at 9:49 am

do you think the strokes will ever do another big american tour, hitting up midlevel cities/destinations? do yall think they go to smaller venues? ive never got to see them live and im stressin yo

25 siobhan September 11, 2010 at 10:44 am

@Eric… that’s seriously depressing news and maybe explains the late nights. Also, in stalkerish mode, I checked out Atlanta de Cadenet’s twitter and she has a picture of Nick with one of his kids in LA from around the same time that Julian sent the tweet about being up all night so either he’s working on his solo stuff or doing Strokes stuff on his own – if any of that tweet was about music, that is! Also, didn’t someone say that Little Joy will be recording a new album soon? I hope the fourth album isn’t just one last commercial hoorah to bolster their respective solo careers… so far it seems like it’s all about the money 🙁 And I’m still trying to get over the fact that of all the cool designers they’re going with the most uninspired, commercial and boring one around.

26 siobhan September 11, 2010 at 11:20 am

I think NME must have meant March 2011 but just forgot to stick in the ’20’… they’re always shoddy with information

27 Speedy September 11, 2010 at 5:58 pm

i met danielle haim at the house of blues in dallas, at the julian casablancas tour, i love her legs.

28 JC September 11, 2010 at 6:31 pm

By the way man im sure it didnt mean march eleventh. It meant march of 2011. Nme didnt fuck up, for a change

29 Jordan September 11, 2010 at 7:57 pm

@ Speedy, FUCK YEAH BRO! <3

@ Eric, maybe I'm blind and so is the search function on my computer but that link on your tweet had nothing about Julian on it for me <,<.

30 Andy September 12, 2010 at 12:45 am

They removed the info about Julian, hopefully because it was a lie.

31 Eric Van Dril September 12, 2010 at 4:52 pm

@Mary Shea — No. Fucking. Way. Never.

@Phil — Well, if they release the fourth record, which I fully expect, I’d say that they will definitely tour the United States. This summer was just different and cooler that they were selective, I think. Then again, I saw them, so people who didn’t because of geographic location may have a different opinion.

And all the shit I posted on Twitter Saturday, I just posted something new on the site dispelling most rumors without doing any actual reporting.

32 Becky September 12, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Ha ha. Thanks to Sioban’s excellent stalker tip, I started following Atlanta, too & she and Nick’s wife both sent out messages ripping on The Strokes for playing this party tonight. So much for supportive friends and family. Hilarious.

33 Tim September 12, 2010 at 10:52 pm

I see no distinction between this show and the festivals this summer. It’s not about the gig they book, it’s about the motive behind booking the gig: money. I see no reason why they should be criticized for for playing this show and celebrated for taking another just because it’s open to the public.

Also, let’s not forget about Julian’s tie to the fashion world. His dad owns a modeling agency for christsake. And though he and his dad weren’t close growing up, I’d say this type of event isn’t terrible foreign to Julian.

34 Mary Shea September 12, 2010 at 10:59 pm

hahahahaha (in response to the no fucking way never). Wells, Julian did look like he was workin a nice trucker hat tonight lol

35 Ester September 13, 2010 at 10:22 am

Yes, the venue, it was the venue…I’ll believe this…=)

“As far as we could tell, the band played no new songs.” This statement is so telling about the crowd there…

Wish they had all their fans there to celebrate their music to the fullest at that venue…

36 Ester September 13, 2010 at 10:57 am

Love seeing them together:

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