Friday, February 29, 2008

Noise Pop Night One: The Walkmen And The Broken West

It's always disappointing when a band you're a huge fan of puts on a mediocre performance, when you know they're capable of more. Unfortunately, such was the case at the Walkmen/Broken West show this past Wednesday. Both bands put in performances that, while not bad by any means, did not have that certain something that makes a gig unforgettable.

There were three pieces to the puzzle that seemed "off" to us: both bands delivered relatively short sets, both bands' sets that were extremely heavy with new, unreleased, material, and both bands just seemed somewhat "tired". Both bands are in the studio working on new albums right now, so perhaps it's just the nature of the beast that coming out to play in the midst of that process leaves a band delivering a less than stellar set.

The Broken West delivered a short set that was comprised mainly of new material. This was disappointing, since we'd never caught their live show before. For all the good things we'd heard, the set just seemed underwhelming. The highlight of the set was when the bassist came out to sing lead vocals on an upbeat, bluesy, stones-y jam.

The Walkmen's set really paled in comparison to their set this fall, which is unfortunate. They started out strong, grabbing the crowd with an energetic opening to the set. However, from there on out the set seemed to languish in a kind of "typical Walkmen" type vibe, with no clear building of the show's feel from one song to the next.

When the band returned for an encore, they could clearly sense the vibe, and responded with a killer version of "The Rat", which ended the night on an up note, to be sure. Still, we couldn't leave without hoping that the bands had both been a little more "on" for the opening night of Noise Pop '08...