The Struts to headline Belly Up Aspen during Food & Wine Classic |

The Struts to headline Belly Up Aspen during Food & Wine Classic

The Struts have opened for bands like the Rolling Stones, Guns'n'Roses and Motley Crue. They make their Aspen debut on Friday night at Belly Up.
Courtesy photo |

If You Go …

Who: The Struts

Where: Belly Up Aspen

When: Friday, June 16, 9 p.m.

How much: $35

Tickets: Belly Up box office;

If you’re still standing by nightfall on the Friday of the Food & Wine Classic, you might as well strut.

The first day of the culinary world’s bacchanal in Aspen concludes with a nightcap concert from the fearsome British rock band The Struts. They’re making their local debut in what promises to be a rager at Belly Up, presented by Butter Chardonnay.

The Struts have been making a name for themselves — and making rock ’n’ roll great again — in recent years with wild shows that serve up a throwback to the heyday of glam rock.

Before the four-piece released its 2014 debut album, “Everybody Wants,” the band was piling up comparisons to the legendary likes of Queen and David Bowie and the Rolling Stones. The Stones, in fact, signed them up to open for them in front of 80,000 fans in Paris.

The Struts songs, hits like “Could Have Been Me” and “Kiss This” among them, are epic riff-filled rockers with danceable beats and catchy melodies. Their over-the-top concerts have quickly earned them a reputation among the best live rock bands on the road today.

The band wears it influences on its collective sleeve, harkening back to a time when rock music was fun, when it was dangerous, when its singers were larger-than-life showmen. But they’re no retro act, said the Struts’ 28-year-old frontman Luke Spiller.

“I think what separates us from an awful lot of bands is the determination to push this genre forward,” Spiller said from a recent tour break in Los Angeles. “There are a lot of people who want to become a carbon copy of their influences. That’s one thing that from the word ‘go’ this bind has been very conscious of — we can carry our influences but always want to push this thing in a new and exciting direction.”

Spiller and the Struts are aiming to do with glam rock what Oasis did with the Beatles. Take what they love from the glam-rock era, pay homage to it, but also put a unique Struts stamp on it.

Motley Crue singer Nikki Sixx offered Spiller some key frontman-to-frontman advice when the Struts were opening for the legendary American rock band.

“He just basically encouraged us to keep going, because he feels that what we have is unique and exciting, but we have to stay focused,” Spiller said.

The Struts have a huge and anthemic sound that’s built for arenas. But they’re just as comfortable in a small room like Belly Up.

“We perform at the level and intensity of 110 percent regardless of the size of the venue, whether its sold out or not — I think that’s what you have to do, that’s how I want to see any band,” Spiller said. “I want them performing as if they’re playing for 10,000 people even if it’s 10. Which, believe me, the Struts have done many times.”

Spiller and his band are proud of their debut album and conscious of the expectations on their follow-up. They’ll certainly have some new songs out by the end of the year, Spiller said, but the band isn’t going to set a release date for its follow-up until its perfect.

“I want this next album to show everyone that we are the real deal and we are one of the best bands at this moment,” he said. “That takes an awful lot of work and perfectionism. We want to make the best album possible. … We don’t want to rush tings. The fans deserve more than that.”

Surprisingly, when they’re writing and recording, Spiller said he and his mates don’t worry much about how songs will translate live. But when your instinct is to go big and turn the volume up to 11, some epic live shows are going to follow.

“I think a lot of bands in the studio fall subject to being self-indulgent, which I am obviously guilty of and I think everybody is,” Spiller said. “We always try to make it sound big, and when you do that it lends itself to the live thing,”

And while the Struts sound and their hard-charging party rock vibe is inescapable, don’t expect them to indulge too much in the Food & Wine festivities. Spiller said the band’s after-hours partying is pretty tame while they’re on tour.

“We’ve always held a strong work ethic alongside a good party ethic, as well,” he said. “But you need to be able to let loose. … Sometimes you have to say, ‘F— it.’ I’m going to do that tonight, I’m staying up until 6 a.m. and chatting-to until the wee hours of the morning.”

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