• Review

SHOW REVIEW: Raising Hell with The Struts

Photo Cred: Ruth Preston

The night before the 150th Kentucky Derby, Lexington's Manchester Music Hall transformed into a haven for those who worship rock ‘n’ roll. The former distillery warehouse, with its exposed brick and industrial vibe, provided the perfect backdrop for The Struts, a band that's earned a reputation for reviving the glitz and glam of classic rock while adding their unique twist. Their dedicated fans, known as “Strutters”, began lining up early to get that coveted spot on the rail and it wasn’t long before that line ran around the building.

After opening act Lo Spirit played a tight and nicely received set, the anticipation among the crowd noticeably grew and as the lights dimmed, drummer Gethin Davies was the first to hit the stage, quickly followed by bassist Jed Elliott and guitarist Adam Slack. The crowd erupted into deafening roar when Luke Spiller, exuding charm and charisma appeared. Dressed in black and sporting a derby-appropriate ascot, Spiller strutted across the stage with the cocky swagger of a rock star, reminding everyone that the spirit of glam rock is alive and well.

As the band opened with “Primadonna Like Me” the crowd was more than ready to get the party started. Jumping, clapping and singing along word for word, it was clear that the band and their fans fed off the others’ energy. “Body Talks” and “Fallin’ With Me quickly followed, and then the intensity grew even more as the packed house roared when told it was time to raise a little hell. Launching into one of the singles off their newest album, “Too Good at Raising Hell” had long-time fans, new fans, young, old, and everyone in between, all singing and dancing and having a hell of a fun time.

Slowing the pace a bit, the lights went down for an acoustic performance of “Mary Go Round” from their first album Everybody Wants. The room was lit with cellphones and audience participation was high as everyone loudly and joyfully sang every single word of that song. Davies and Elliott returned to the stage with mint juleps in hand, resulting in a derby toast and a shower of bourbon as Spiller tossed the contents of the glass into the audience. But that wasn’t the only surprise of the night.

Being a long-time Strutter myself, I thought I had seen it all, that is, until the band launched into a rocking and raucous cover of Elvis Presley’s “Burning Love”. The crowd went crazy, and I did not see a single person not singing, dancing and swaying to the music. It was a great last-minute add to the setlist and one I hope gets repeated when they continue their tour in Cincinnati at the end of June.

Next up was the title track from their most recent album Pretty Vicious. Although this song is more on the mellow side, it has a cool and groovy vibe that allows it to shine brightly within the set. “I Won’t Run”, also from the same album, was up next. During the introduction, this song is one that is clearly held close to the band’s heart. All about hard work, dreaming big, being present and appreciative of the moment at hand, it is a lovely tune that is spot-on for this day and age and absolutely one of my favorites on the album.

The Struts' performance was a mix of high-octane rock and heartfelt moments. Spiller’s powerful vocals and the band’s fantastic musicality kept the energy at a fever peach throughout the night. Too soon it was time for the show to come to an end, and as the crowd eagerly took their position as “human fireworks” for "Put Your Money On Me," it was a clear reminder that The Struts are not just performers—they're entertainers who know how to connect with their audience and leave them wanting to come back for a lot more.

It was so much more than a rock show—it was a celebration of the glam rock era, infused with modern energy. The band's cheeky and theatrical style, combined with their infectious music, made for an unforgettable experience. If you haven't seen The Struts live, you're missing out on one of the most exciting rock acts today. This is a band that knows how to put on a show, and their performance in Lexington was a masterclass in what rock ‘n’ roll should be: loud, bold, and kick-ass.

Primadonna Like Me, Body Talks, Fallin’ With Me, Too Good at Raising Hell, Kiss This, Rockstar, In Love WithA Camera, One Night Only, Mary Go Round, Dirty Sexy Money, Burning Love (Elvis Presley cover), Pretty Vicious, I Won’t Run, Put Your Money On Me, Could Have Been Me

The Struts at Manchester Music Hall

Open Album