The Walkmen’s Friday, January 21st show was held in one of Bristol’s oldest music venues, The Trinity, a short walk from the bright lights of the centre of town. The building itself is a wonderful old church, which added some character and atmosphere to the evening’s show, unlike some of the other soulless Academy venues that each U.K. city appears to spawn.
The hall was already close to its capacity (650) by the time the hotly tipped support act Mona, who hail from Nashville, Tennessee, took to the stage. Nick Brown is the lead vocalist and guitarist with his Joe Strummer slicked back hair to boot. One area that Brown beats Strummer on was the impressive muscular mass popping out from his beneath his white t-shirt. Brown was flanked by three other members of Mona in various items of denim and equally slicked back hair, Vince Gard (drums), Zach Lindsey (bass) and Jordan Young (guitar).
Brown certainly oozed some confidence to suggest that he was sure of his band and the direction in which they were heading and that further recognition was only inevitable. They played a tight, short set that appeared to be welcomed by the swelling audience.
The set included "Teenagers", a single due for release on February 28th.
Click here for photos of The Walkmen at 2012 Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona, Spain
Click here for photos of The Walkmen at 2011 Latitude Festival in Southwold, U.K.
Click here for photos of The Walkmen at 2011 Primavera Sound Festival
Click here for QRO’s review of The Walkmen at Barrymore Theatre in Madison, WI on October 16th, 2010
Click here for photos of The Walkmen at Music Fest NW 2010 in Portland, OR in the QRO Concert Photo Gallery
Click here for photos of The Walkmen at 2010 Osheaga Music Festival in Montreal, PQ, Canada in the QRO Concert Photo Gallery
Click here for photos of The Walkmen at SXSW 2010 in Austin, TX in the QRO Concert Photo Gallery
Click here for photos of The Walkmen at Central Park SummerStage in New York, NY on August 18th, 2009 in the QRO Concert Photo Gallery
Click here for QRO’s review of The Walkmen at Guggenheim Museum in New York, NY on August 16th, 2009
Click here for photos of The Walkmen at 2009 Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, IL in the QRO Concert Photo Gallery
Click here for QRO’s review of The Walkmen at Brooklyn Masonic Temple on December 16th, 2008
Click here for photos of The Walkmen at Music Hall in Williamsburg in Brooklyn, NY on September 14th, 2007 in the QRO Concert Photo Gallery
Click here for photos of The Walkmen at Bowery Ballroom in New York, NY on March 8th, 2007 in the QRO Concert Photo Gallery
The Walkmen arrived onto the stage to a warm welcome. Frontman Hamilton Leithauser dressed in a grey suit jacket. Paul Maroon slung his black Rickenbacker guitar over his shoulder whilst Peter Bauer stood with his bass at the ready. Walter Martin’s organ cranked into action to be met alongside by Matt Barrick’s rolling drums which picked up pace and launched into "Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone" from The Walkmen’s 2003 début album of the same title.
After finishing the first of the 15-song set, Leithauser offered a smile and a thanks as he led his con pares into the first of the six tracks the band were to play from their latest album release, Lisbon (QRO review). "Angela Surf City" at times eased along gracefully with Barrick’s beats and the ever impressive notes from Maroon’s black Rickenbaker, reverberated perfectly around the old church, before picking up pace as the chorus swelled forward and swept the audience along encouraging much ‘grooving’ from several in the packed crowd.
All five albums had tracks represented within the set list, with stand out tracks coming from "Blue As Your Blood" and "On The Water" from the bands last two albums, further recognition of how the band continues to improve. The Walkmen were business-like and with limited interaction with the audience, and instead preferred to let their fine craft and musicianship take over spellbinding the audience.
Lead singer Leithauser has clearly grown and honed his skills as a frontman and he got better and better keeping the Bristol audience captivated, especially on the slower tracks proving himself to be an established crooner. This was perfectly exhibited with "While I Shovel The Snow" from the latest album and "Canadian Girl" from the prior You & Me (QRO review), which sadly was without the brass section. Still, it was carried out in magnificent fashion.
For "All Hands And The Cook", the only representative from the album A Hundred Miles Off, there was an over powering intensity from Leithauser as he squeezed the life out of his microphone with the cable wrapped around his hand to ensure there was no escape. Even though there was intensity it was also controlled as Hamilton hit a range of notes with ease with his face facing upwards towards the simple lighting in the venue.
Martin, Bauer, and Maroon all took it in turns to try their hand on the upright piano on various songs throughout the night, at times stopping to meet in the centre of the modest size stage with Leithauser to chuckle and plan their next attack. Drummer Barrick has gained a reputation as one of the best drummers around (QRO’s Indie Rock’s Best Drummers) and he displayed why with his sometimes ‘sparse’ drumming, before slipping back into something far more likely to punch you. His playing style often looks unusual with his drumming movements often appearing in jerky movements. However, it certainly worked in a great performance and facial expressions to match.
The encore brought two thumping tracks from the band’s second album Bows and Arrows, "Little House of Savages" and the compulsory popular hard-hitting "The Rat", which brought a compulsory wild reaction from the audience as they eased and moved more intensely, with those at the front thumping the air as Leithauser screamed his biting attack into his mic.
The Walkmen finished with "We’ve Been Had", which settled things down with a swaying gentle hypnotic rhythm from the old battered upright piano. The audience certainly had not ‘been had’; instead they had been treated to The Walkmen a band that have grown, become better refined, professional and confident. The Walkmen are just a great band that have produced five albums to date, with each offering getting better and better. For this reason they continue to maintain credibility amongst their cult following and have stamped their authority as a live act everyone needs to see.
Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone
Angela Surf City
In The New Year
Blue As Your Blood
On The Water
While I Shovel The Snow
Woe Is Me
All Hands and The Cook
Little House of Savages
We’ve Been Had