Could there be a Voidz without the Strokes? Julian Casablancas‘s other band played The Tonight Show with Jay Leno way back in 2002, and it’s a kick to go back and watch the ’00s New York garage-rock standard-bearers at the height of their Is This It-era powers: the instrumentalists coolly impassive, the vocalist more cherubic and plaintive than I’d remembered. Fast forward to last night, on The Tonight Starring Jimmy Fallon, when Casablancas and new band the Voidz performed prog-punk oddity “Where No Eagles Fly” from their just-released debut album together, Tyranny, and the similarities are as engaging as the differences.
Sure, Casablancas has a shaggier, more denim-heavy look, and there’s an eerie chess-board backdrop as well as a TV with something like a test pattern — also, more instruments than the traditional guitar-band setup — but the Voidz, mustachioed or shades-wearing, bash out their parts with their own above-it-all remove. The song itself is deliriously twitchy, unpredictable, cryptic, neither the Strokes’ signature style nor the inviting synth-pop of Casablancas’s first solo LP (2009′s Phrazes for the Young). A former colleague, journalist Kenneth Bachor, compared the Voidz to Casablancas’s own Public Image Ltd., another triumphantly perverse second act. If that’s the case, just wait until this band’s Metal Box.
Elsewhere on late night, Paul Simon visited Conan as part of the show’s weeklong George Harrison tribute. The previous night, Beck covered “Wah-Wah,” from 1970′s All Things Must Pass. Below, watch the legendary Simon & Garfunkel half perform Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun,” from the Beatles‘ Abbey Road, as a dulcet acoustic duet.