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It was a glorious evening of pure, unabashed rock—just the way us New Yorkers like it.
STROKES OF GENIUS
NYC's Band of the Moment Packs Them In
On Halloween Night
While most New Yorkers were glued to their TVs watching a truly classic World Series contest between the Yanks and D'backs (wow), our girl about town, Shirley Halperin, was checking out one of our fave new acts. Here's what she saw and heard:

Police and firefighters aside, New York's finest were out in droves last night—not only because it was Halloween, but also because our own hometown boys, RCA's The Strokes, gave their first headlining performance at the cavernous Hammerstein Ballroom. It was certainly the band's biggest crowd, but they seemed unfazed by the size of the stage and the crowd, rocking their way through an hour-long set with the confidence of consummate pros.

The newly lit stage show kept the guys in silhouette throughout most of the set, and as they blasted out every song on their debut record, Is This It (including the now-absent track "New York City Cops"), their performance made you feel as if you were personally seated at the soundboard of the studio sessions—it was that precise.

The packed floor was pumped with new fans bouncing along, while the mezzanine became unusually crowded with a mix of music critics and industry players. Among the noteworthy, Evan Dando was spotted slumped in a corner, happy Nipper chief Jack Rovner made the rounds, MTV's Gideon Yago may have had just a bit too much to drink, and RCA promo guy Bill Burrs was in fine form, keeping his posse (including the label's Steve Ralbovsky, who signed the band and A&R'd the record) all smiles (only partly alcohol-induced). Press guru Jim Merlis and his team (newcomer Steve Trachtenbroit and veteran flack Kenny Weinstein), were busy making sure every high-level editor (RS's Joe Levy, Spin's Alan Light, Teen People's Jeremy Helligar, among many others) had a seat and a view of the stage (key!), but I felt more inclined to rock out in the back to my favorite song, "Hard to Explain." Also on hand: album producer Gordon Raphael (of Sky Cries Mary fame) and Dean of American Rock Critics Robert Christgau, listening to the Yankee game on his radio Walkman and offering updates to all who asked. It was a glorious evening of pure, unabashed rock—just the way we New Yorkers like it.

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