"This is crazy," says Julian Casablancas to himself, letting his words slip out over a packed out Zodiac, writes Matt Ashton.

And he's right - the media hysteria surrounding his band seems to have spiralled out of control in just a matter of weeks, with the NME claiming the New York five-piece to be the saviours of rock.

"Don't believe what you read in the NME," says Julian.

Taking the sound of The Stooges and The Velvet Underground's White Light/White Heat - complete with Lou Reed's narcotic whoos - and dressing it up as the boys from Blondie circa 1977, they've captured a grimy snapshot of New York punk.

Though possibly not the saviours of rock, these five skinny-tied punks are pretty damn cool, continuing the lineage of NYC bands from The Ramones and Television to Sonic Youth.

Tonight's celebrity packed show has a feeling of genuine event about it, and no doubt people will be lying about having been here for years to come. Radiohead and Kate Moss make an appearance, while James Dean Bradfield from the Manic Street Preachers can be found propping up the bar. Barely Legal and Last Nite, from the debut EP, both improve on their recorded versions with white hot guitar stabs from Nick Valensi and Nikolai Fraiture, backed up by Fabrizio Moretti's pounding drums.

Casablancas and the fantastically-named bassist Albert Hammond Jnr are the stars of the show, an exercise in sharp cool and nonchalant swaggering. For a band being heralded as gods there is a marked lack of arrogance, they seem to have their feet firmly on the ground. They're enjoying it as much as we are.

Every single last tune played tonight has the kind of melodic hook that refuses to be forgotten. Even in the middle of a climactic guitar maelstrom, the pure pop sensibilty still shines through.

They leave the stage with no encore and massive grins. Oxford can consider itself well and truly Stroked.