Monday, March 03, 2008
The Walkmen at the Samueli Theater
I unfortunately missed the debut of the Off Center concert series at the Samueli Theater sponsored by Indie 103.1 with Peter, Bjorn, and John and Seawolf as I was at the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club show. I have to applaud any attempt to bring concerts to Orange County as there are few venues in the area especially with the recent closure of the Galaxy Theater. The line up of The Walkmen and local favorites Delta Spirit proved to be a solid line up of garage and southern tinged rock.
Delta Spirit have recently come off a tour opening for Matt Costa in support of their debut album Ode To Sunshine. I have followed Delta Spirit for quite some time now catching their recent show at the Detroit Bar in September of last year. The Samueli Theater has a museum like atmosphere as it was almost surgical in it atmosphere. This atmosphere dissipated as the Delta Spirit launched into their southern bluesy rock. "Trashcan" has long been a favorite track with its clatter of real trashcan and the strained vocals of Matthew Vasquez (Guitars/Vocals). "Strange Vine" has a saloon like quality atmosphere with its drunken guitars and ragtime piano riff. "People, C'mon" is a bluesy call to arms with its yelled out chorus. "House Built For Two" is their ballad that conjures visions of a drunken patron at the end of the bar drinking their sorrows away. "Children" is the uptempo steam engine chugging at full throttle with percussive force. "People, Turn Around" is the somber closing song that picks you up from your bootstraps and gives you hope. Delta Spirit will be headlining the Troubadour and Casbah on March 7th and 8th.
I last caught up with The Walkmen when they played at the Troubadour in November of last year. The Walkmen write new songs at a prolific pace and debuted some of these songs at the Troubadour show. "Leonard Cohen" opened their set with is creepy organ vibe followed by Paul Maroon's (Guitars) reverb drenched guitars. Hamilton Leithauser (Vocals) has a commanding stage presence as he towered above the audience and would frequently lean back for his screams while clutching his microphone stand. "Radiator" was a brilliant display of Paul's guitarwork as he slashed out quick ascending riff that climbed chromatically. "All Hands And The Cook" was stunning with Matt Barrick (Drums) nailing the loose and unconventional drum shuffle to the song. The interesting thing about the Walkmen is that they use few pedals besides the Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Reverb. The Walkmen simply turn everything up to eleven and blast you the old fashion way relying on dynamics and great songwriting. "If Only It Was True" was a new song that played like a dark echo soaked ballad. Paul had switched his usual Rickenbacker guitar for a hollowbody Gretsch that had just as much character. "Another One Goes By" was another tune from their underrated album A Hundred Miles Off as Hamilton had his Fender Jazzmaster cranking while Paul plucked out the ringing notes of the song. "Little House of Savages" was savage to say the least with it marching drums and low end bass notes rumbling the room. "The Rat" took me by complete surprise as I was just getting used to them not playing the song but was happy to hear it. The Walkmen thanked the crowd as they departed closing their sixty minute set. The sound was mixed very well at Samueli theater and I will say that it was a surprisingly nice venue. The fact that it is close by does not hurt either. The Walkmen will swing back to New York before embarking on another East coast tour.