The Walkmen- Fierce Panda 15th Birthday Party @ London Scala, 20th Feb 2009


25 fév. 2009, 19h06m

Fri 20 Feb – The Walkmen, Hatcham Social, Molotovs

The Walkmen are a prime example of indie rock's 'nearly men.' Arriving amidst the wave of New York based groups in the early part of the decade, they stood in the shadows of the likes of The Strokes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who both delivered explosive debut records. While those two acts' careers have stuttered in the recent past, with subsequent releases failing to cause the same ripples as their debuts, The Walkmen have been forming a body of work to be truly proud of.

The last three releases, 'Bows & Arrows,' 'A Hundred Miles Off,' and 'You & Me' have demonstrated a depth and confidence which their indie peers have failed to match.

The Walkmen arrived at the Scala for their UK record label's 15th anniversary. Support was provided by the labels' Molotovs and Hatcham Social, who were able, if not spectacular.

The main act took to the stage at 10pm, and delivered a set which relied heavily on material from their latest release, 'You & Me.' This might have been worrying for some, as the latest record, while possibly being their most accomplished and complete record, is somewhat understated, and a record that I found to take a period to fully digest.

For a few of the tracks, the band were joined on stage by a brass trio, which really added to the band's sound. The brass appeared mainly on the new songs, but was also used on 'Louisiana,' which was the lead-off single from 'A Hundred Miles Off.'

Throughout the concert, the crowd was treated to the power of Hamilton Leithauser's vocals, the inventive rhythms of Matt Barrick's drumming, and the stunning guitar textures provided by lead guitarist Paul Maroon.

While the subtler material of the 4th record, 'You & Me,' was well received by fans, the biggest cheers of the night were reserved for the heavier songs, particularly 'The Rat' and 'Thinking Of A Dream I Had,' two of the rock powerhouses from 'Bows & Arrows.' 'The Rat' is the band's 'big single,' which has graced indie discos across the land for the last five years. It translates brilliantly to the live setting, Matt Barrick's performance on the drums was spectacular. 'Thinking Of A Dream I Had' was equally impressive, another highlight from the band's back catalogue. The pounding drum beat and leading keyboard melody drove the song along, and the track proved to be a fitting end to the set.

I'm sure there have been more rocking performances from The Walkmen (I was looking forward to jumping around to 'Tenley Town,' and 'Little House of Savages,' but alas, they did not appear!), but the combination of the older, rockier numbers, and the mature sound of their latest work produced a thoroughly enjoyable show. I entered the venue with huge expectations, and left absolutely ecstatic.


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