While I am a fan, I will admit I wasn’t terribly familiar with the Walkmen going into their show on Monday at SOhO. But from what I did know, their upbeat style and sound would surely not disappoint. And it didn’t.
From the back-and-forth bass lines to the band’s casual dress and almost too casual stage presence, everything about the Walkmen screamed simple-except for lead singer Hamilton Leithauser. Much has been said about Leithauser’s Dylan-esque vocals, and I must admit that talk is, at most, not far from the truth. The tall and lanky Leithauser-who sipped on an Amstel Light throughout the show-whetted the crowd’s appetite with his wide range, practically screaming during some ballads, but somehow always in control.
While he didn’t have much to say to the crowd-nothing, in fact, minus the introduction of an occasional song-Leithauser did his talking through song, leaving many wondering how high he could go and how hard he could rock before his voice crumbled.
After a sloshy but fun performance by The Subjects and a solid showing by Santa Barbara’s Coral Sea, the New York band hit the stage with a set list that combined songs from 2006’s A Hundred Miles Off, 2004’s Bows+Arrows, and a couple new numbers, including the yet-to-be-released “If Only It Were True.”
“Thinking of a Dream I’ve Had” followed soon after and highlighted drummer Matt Barrick’s infectious beats, which simulated a train roaring down the tracks and literally left me dreaming of sitting at a station, “waiting for a train to arrive.” About the only thing lacking from “Louisiana”-the first single off A Hundred Miles Off-were the trumpets. But Leithauser’s emotive vocals, the clangy sounds of the baby grand piano, and Barrick’s impressive beat-keeping skills managed to carry the song.
After an awkward exit from the stage onto the patio, the band was called back and responded with two songs, including the closer “Little House of Savages”-a fan favorite with an irresistible beat that kept everyone swaying and dancing.