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  • Writer's pictureJulian Ramirez

Photos: The Strokes Returned to Chicago in Support of Kina Collins

Back in 2022, Kina Collins put her best effort into her IL-07 Congressional campaign as she brought her friends and legendary rock band to Metro for a fundraiser. Collins, who is a strong gun violence prevention advocate, obviously isn't giving up on her beliefs and is running once again. Flash forward to March 8 2024, where Collins brought back The Strokes for another fundraising effort, this time at the Credit Union One Arena at UIC along with some incredible acts including Uwade and locals NNAMDÏ and Beach Bunny.

Given the large stage and audience, the whole affair moved along much quicker that the 2022 event. The show began promptly at 7pm with a very calm and tender set by Uwade. The New York based singer songwriter had the crowd completely mellowed out with her serene songs. Uwade performed a cover of The Strokes "One Way Trigger", which she said felt a little odd playing at a show with the the band in attendance. But rest assured, she got their blessing and executed it perfectly.

NNAMDÏ followed up with a completely different vibe. If you've ever had the chance to see NNAMDÏ perform live then you know that his onstage antics are as wild as his shapeshifting sound. You honestly can never pin down exactly what NNAMDÏ is going to bring to the table and this evening was filled with the noisiest soundscapes he and the band could muster. It was a fantastic showing of NNAMDÏ wild side, turning even the softest, R&B song form his album Please Have A Seat into ball of manic energy.

Soon after the display of unbridled fun came Beach Bunny, who matched it with the summer tunes. Playing tracks off of all their major releases, Lili Trifilio and crew were doing their damndest to get the crowd going urging the crowd to jump and dance. It's hard not to lose your self in their bright pop sound especially when your in a venue this big surrounded by anxiously excited fans.

Before the main musical attractions of the night would take stage, Kina Collins came to the stage after a few speaks and a special celebration features her friends and family. Collin's was not only fundraising for her campaign but celebrating International Women's day and her birthday. After a quick "Happy Birthday" and blowing out of candles, Collins got right to work, riling up the crowd with her fiery speech about the changes needing to be made.

"They’re telling me that what we’re doing is too much. But, let me tell you all what’s 'too much' for me!" What’s 'too much' for me is crushing student loan debt." She cried out before delving to what she and her supporters have been trying so hard to change. Mentions of eliminating student loan debt and giving women autonomy over their rights and bodies drew cheers from the crowd.

With everyone at the highest point of their anticipation, the lights finally came down and Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" blared through the speakers as The Strokes  made their way tot he stage. Julian Casablancas, Albert Hammond Nick Valensi, Nikolai Fraiture, and Fabrizio Moretti have this aura about them that is undeniable. The crowd switched from anxious anticipation to riotous joy as the band jumped into a fantastic and rarity filed set. Songs like "You Talk Way Too Much", "Drag Queen", and "The Way It Is" filled thee first half of the night much tot he surprise and delight of the crowd arena.

In between songs, Casablancas addressed the crowd with his support of Kina Collins. Casablancas shifted between lamenting about the state of world and sincere appreciation for the fight Collins is putting up against those troubles. Between comparing Collins to Bernie Sanders and joining her the following morning as she canvassed to get people out to vote, Casablancas seemed hopeful.

Of course the staples of any Strokes set were there. Early on Hard to Explain" and "Take It or Leave" assured fans that favorites wouldn't be passed by. In fact after the more obscure but undeniably loved first half of the night were the songs that seemingly everyone needed to here. "Last nite" and "Juicebox" towards the middle of night hit a nice peak for the crowd. Both were immediately followed by "Is This It" and "New York City Cops", turning things up another notch for the dedicated fans. "Someday " and "Reptilia" were the final one-two punch of the night leaving the crowd satisfied with an excellent dose of noisy rock.

Election Day in Chicago is March 19! You can head over to Kina Collins' website to learn more about Collins’ platform and plans for IL-07.



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