Thursday, January 22, 2009

Beach House And The Walkmen Played The Fillmore: Pics, Review

Riding the success of an awesome new album is never a bad thing. Nor is having a lead singer who is not only charismatic, but whose voice is also in top form. Nor is having a band that is wildly technically proficient, but adept enough to make it look effortless. Suffice it to say: Last night at The Fillmore The Walkmen proved without a doubt that they are very much in the game, and are delivering one of the best live shows you can see today.

The set opened with Beach House, who brought along their own group of devout fans, and delivered a solid set. We at HAD had heard the band described as "mellow", and as such were sort of expecting something relatively soft, which a certain warm vibe to it. Quite to the contrary, the band delivered a set that was "mellow" more in the sense of Mazzy Star or Portishead.

There was a certain sense of melancholy, and many of the melodies were weighty and plodding. Atmospheric guitars abounded, and Victoria Legrand's deep breathy vocals set a somber mood for most of the tunes. That being said, we also got the distinct feel of classic motown in her delivery, and it served to make for a group of songs that had much more depth than was first apparent. After soaking up the set, we have to say the band won us over.

Following Beach House's set, The Walkmen took the stage and launched into a set that traversed all four of their records. Surprisingly (simply because of its newness to the catalogue), some of the biggest crowd reactions were to the band's latest, You & Me. Both "In The New Year" and "Red Moon" both received rapturous applause.

The band has chosen to travel with a horn section (much like the ad hoc one from their 2006 tour), and many of the songs featured new horn arrangements. This served as the gateway for a performance of an HAD favorite "Louisiana". While it didn't win over the crowd as some of the "hits", we have to say we were glad to hear the tune.

On top of a fantastic setlist, we have to say that Hamilton Leithauser's voice was in the best shape we've heard it in years. Throughout the set, he effortlessly hung onto notes, and delivered all of the high notes with pitch-perfect crystal-clear precision. All vocalists have on and off days, and last night was most definitely an "on" one for Leithauser.

For us, however, the highlights of the night were two Walkmen "classics": "Thinking Of A Dream I Had" and "Wake Up". Both were simply smoking hot versions of the songs that had the band firing on all cylinders, and the audience right along with them. The Walkmen have the amazing good fortune of having created a truly unique sound, and having ridden the wave of critical acclaim and skepticism to come out on the other side. Their performance is instilled with a new found confidence that left us feeling, unquestionably, that The Walkmen are here to stay.

Many more pictures at the HAD Archive


kata said...

god damn it i wish i didn't have to work that day

Hanan said...

dude nice review, I can't believe I missed this show. when I found out about it, it was all sold out =(