Tuesday, November 13, 2007
The Walkmen at the Troubadour
The Walkmen had a large amount of buzz surrounding their "Bows+Arrows" release in 2004. "The Rat" was one of the more popular songs off that album and had many critics billing them as the next big thing. "A Hundred Miles Off" was released in 2006 and didn't generate as much buzz but after repeated listens I have learned to appreciate the album much more. The Walkmen stopped by the Troubadour to debut some new songs and play a smattering of old tunes.
The Hugs reminded me of a lot of things right off the bat. Danny Delegato (Vocals/Guitars) looked very similar to a young Ben Kweller with his floppy ears hat. In the sound department, The Hugs fall into the category of The View, and The Kooks. The difference is that The Hugs hail from Portland, Oregon instead of the United Kingdom. It was no surprise later that I find out that the band is heading off to England for a handful of shows in order to break out in the U.K. before coming back across the pond. One of the shows they will be playing with The View incidentally. It was interesting to see Danny thrash all over the stage and manage to pull his microphone stand apart.
The Subjects by the way of Brooklyn, New York were next and displayed a more subtle sense of melody. They reminded me of a cross between Death Cab for Cutie and The Weakerthans. David Sheinkopf (Vocals/Bass) propelled their catchy numbers with his Gibson SG Bass. Their latest release is "With The Ease Grace Precision and Cleverness of Human Beings" is out now on Pretty Activity records.
I have seen The Walkmen a few times before and know they put on a solid show. I once saw them at the House of Blues in Las Vegas a few years ago opening for The Killers. The Walkmen came out and took care of business. Hamilton Leithauser (Vocals/Guitars) has a towering stage presence and belts out the tunes as you can see the vein in his neck come close to exploding. Hamilton would occasionally play his Gretsch Hollowbody guitar to add some thickness to their songs. Paul Maroon (Guitars) had a Fender Pro Reverb amp hooked up to his Rickenbacker guitar to get his trademark hollow reverb drenched sound. Walter Martin (Keyboards/Bass) and Peter Bauer were alternating between keyboards and bass. They pulled out a Vox bass that had a warm roundness to it. The old piano they had on stage also added to their throwback sound as if the piano was from the 1800's in a western saloon. "Louisiana" and "All The Hands and The Cook" were crowd favorites. I wasn't surprised they didn't play "The Rat" and "We've Been Had" as they have been known not to play some of their popular songs. The new songs sounded okay but I would have to hear them again to form a stronger opinion.