19 October 2007

The Walkmen @ Avalon - 17 October 2007

Wonderful things can happen when you cram every venue in the city with live music and force bands to duke it out for your eyeballs and earlobes for 40 minutes at a time. And once in a while, a perfect storm of factors coalesce - in this case the red herring of Dan Deacon and Deerhunter luring the lion's share of bodies from actual good music, coupled with the relatively late addition of the Walkmen to an otherwise underwhelming bill at an otherwise terrible venue - that makes you realize you're still capable of having one of those schmaltzy "aw shucks, only in New York" moments.

For me, this was the case Wednesday night at Avalon, where The Walkmen blazed through a set for a surprisingly small but very appreciative crowd. Just so you "get" where I stand on the Walkmen, consider that A Hundred Miles Off was perhaps my favorite album of 2006, okay? Now, consider also that they were the first band I saw when I moved to New York in 2002, making them an indelible part of the soundtrack to those first few months here. Watching them on Wendesday, I remembered how perfectly their sound captured (and still does) the essence of stumbling wide-eyed around dark city streets clamoring to soak everything in at once. It was all there on stage, from Hamilton's chainsaw raspy croon and Paul Maroon's reverb-drenched guitars (we're talking cathedral levels of reverb, which of course seemed even more at home given the venue) to Matt Barrick's tasteful and choppily playful backbeats.

Their set consisted largely of new material from their as-yet-untitled upcoming album balanced with a handful of tunes from A Hundred Miles Off. To spice things up, the boys even brought out a three-piece horn section for a few songs. To those looking for a band reinventing themselves and their sound with each album, keep searching. To those in love with the wholly distinct sound the Walkmen have carved out for themselves and content for more of the same (but what a lovely same it is), you probably should have been here instead of stumbling around in the dark at Dan Deacon.

Listen:
"Lemon Hill"

See the Walkmen Live - CMJ Dates
19 October - Mercury Lounge

See more pictures of The Walkmen (from this show) HERE.

Visit the Walkmen on Myspace.

5 comments:

Andrew said...

D'oh. I saw that they were playing that night and was thinking about hitting this up on my way home from Springsteen, but didn't have the energy to deal with another lousy venue. Sounds like it was a worthwhile one. I guess it may be worth dealing with the crowds at 12:30 at the Mercury tonight... Hmm...

Anonymous said...

oh look. the walkmen are in front of a banner that says "unsigned artists." yeah. makes sense.

Taylor said...

I'm glad to hear that the Walkmen were good. I saw them at CMJ last year and they were AWFUL.

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