Live Review: The Walkmen at the Fillmore 1/21/09
Eat shit, Michael Buble. Hamilton Leithauser is the real man's crooner.
I've had the pleasure seeing The Walkmen twice before, but their show at The Fillmore last night was undoubtedly their best. In the same way that their latest album, the brilliant You & Me, was a demonstration of a band coming into their own in terms of songwriting, last night's set was a demonstration of a band coming into their own in a live setting. In past performances, the band has lacked the energy and focus that has similarly limited their past releases, albeit minorly. However, on this occasion, the band moved on stage, they smiled at each other, they pounded away at their instruments, and they had the crowd mesmerized. They performed like a band that has finally come terms with the fact that they are a band. The Walkmen is not a hobby. The Walkmen is not a pipe dream. The Walkmen is their job and the joy that such a revelation brought was evident in the ferocity of their set.
Before The Walkmen took the stage, the dreamy pop duo Beach House took the stage and played a very gloomy set - gloomy, in the best sense of the word. Gloomy like Mazzy Star. Although their newest album, Devotion, is a stellar effort, I'm still inclined to put on their self-titled debut before that one. So, when they played "Master of None," I was elated and, actually, quite impressed by how entertaining such droning music could translate so well live.
The night belonged to The Walkmen, though. Of course, the crowd went wild over "The Rat" and such adulation was well-deserved. And, the stand-out tracks from Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone, "We've Been Had" and "Wake Up," were thrilling to hear. But, the highlights of the night came from You & Me, particularly "In The New Year." Hamilton Leithauser's voice lit up the chandeliers that lined the venue's ceiling. It cracked the poster frames that lined each of its walls. It was as powerful as a San Francisco earthquake and it thoroughly shook every person in attendance.
- Caleb Morairty
*photos courtesy of www.hippiesaredead.com