CONCERT REVIEW: The Walkmen March On

The Walkmen are a curious case. The New York City/Philadelphia quintet have been producing solid offerings since their 2002 debut, Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone but sometimes it seems their consistency has let them be lost in the shuffle. With seven studio albums under their belt in 10 years, the band released Heaven last year, which was overlooked despite being one of the year’s best. Despite their records just getting better, their hype has faded a little.

The band took the stage at the Corona Theatre dressed to the nines and wasted no time capturing the crowd. Their second song was one of their biggest, “The Rat” off of 2004’s Bows + Arrows. From there they dipped into multiple cuts from Heaven, including the retro sway of “Heartbreaker” and the feel-good-moments of “Love is Luck.”

But it was the album’s opening number, “We Can’t Be Beat,” that had the audience’s full attention as frontman Hamilton Leithauser picked up an acoustic and played a different rendition of the LP version of the track.

Leithauser’s voice became a lot stronger in the latter half of the show, but the crowd could have probably done without his stories about migraines.

Paul Maroon’s chops are only getting better, as he remains one of the more prolific guitar players in his circle. He excelled in the evening’s most acknowledged tracks, “Blue As Your Blood” (off 2010’s Lisbon) and “All Hands and The Cook” (from 2006’s A Hundred Miles Off). Drummer Matt Barrick behind his kit, mounted slightly above his peers, remains a big reason as to why The Walkmen are tighter than ever.

I read somewhere last week that indie rock was dead–just like rock n’ roll, punk and hip-hop have apparently all died. And maybe that’s true; that lo-fi, guitar-driven emotion doesn’t have the same clout it did a decade ago.

Indie rock now has a nostalgic feel for those who grew up when it was booming. So maybe The Walkmen are sort of a microcosm for indie rock itself–you had to be there when it started to fully appreciate it today.

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