The Strokes mock San Francisco laws during Outside Lands headlining set – San Francisco Chronicle

Julian Casablancas of the Strokes at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. Photo: Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle

The Strokes closed out the first night of Outside Lands in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park on a weird note, starting their set 20 minutes late and ending it 10 minutes early after frontman Julian Casablancas complained about the sound and the city’s strict COVID-19 protocols.

But first, Casablancas sardonically embraced the return of the long-awaited festival on Friday, Oct. 29, as the band took the fog-shrouded main Lands End stage on the Polo Field a little after 8:30 p.m.

“It’s a beautiful day … where we were a thousand years ago, just like old times,” he said, in one of his many nonsensical rants of the evening.

Only three songs into the set, however, the freshly mulletted Casablancas seemed frustrated by the sound from the pyramid-shaped set on the stage.

“Am I deaf? Is it crazy low, or is it just low?” he asked during another audio check, which prompted the crowd to chant “Turn it up!” Pacing the stage he asked, “Is the P.A. working?”

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After performing “Someday,” the band’s third hit single from its seminal 2001 album “Is This it,” Casablancas continued to appear annoyed.

“I mean, our sound guy Gus is notorious for damaging eardrums. So I’m sure it’s the law, or the festival, or some San Francisco law bulls—t,” he said, before continuing to rant about the city’s coronavirus rules.

“I didn’t get let into a restaurant today,” Casablancas said. “I have a vaccine card and they were like, ‘You need both,’ I guess, I don’t know. San Francisco, love it. If we could have 10 minutes of silence please, for the inequality. Just kidding. YOLO!”

Then the New York-based band — which includes guitarists Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond Jr., bassist Nikolai Fraiture and drummer Fabrizio Moretti — went into “You Only Live Once,” where at one point the singer began meowing instead of singing the lyrics.

The Strokes perform at the Outside Lands music festival. Photo: Santiago Mejia / The Chronicle

The Strokes are on tour in support of their first full-length release in seven years, “The New Abnormal.” Produced by Rick Rubin, the Grammy-nominated album released last year, arrives two decades after the band’s groundbreaking debut, making them one of the festival’s token veteran acts.

Throughout Friday’s headlining set Casablancas led the group through several songs from the new-ish release, which leans heavily on its ’80s influences, outright lifting melodies from Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself” and the Psychedelic Furs’ “The Ghost in You.”

The band was slotted to play for 90 minutes but wrapped up its set in just over an hour.

Outside Lands continues through Sunday, Oct. 31, with headliner Lizzo headlining the festival on Saturday, Oct. 30. For more updates from Outside Lands 2021, go to datebook.sfchronicle.com.

Albert Hammond Jr. of the Strokes performs at Outside Lands. Photo: Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle

The Strokes’ Outside Lands 2021 Setlist

“Call It Fate, Call It Karma”

“The End Has No End”

“Bad Decisions”

“Juicebox”

“Someday”

“You Only Live Once”

“Take It or Leave It”

“Brooklyn Bridge to Chorus”

“Is This It”

“Hard To Explain”

“Reptilia”

“Ode to the Mets”

“Last Nite”

Encore: “The Adults Are Talking” and “New York City Cops”

Chronicle staff writer Aidin Vaziri contributed to this story.

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