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Friday, February 03, 2006

The Walkmen - Higher Ground - January 26, 2006

2004 is so hot right now.

The Walkmen's Bows + Arrows was released February of that year and I missed it. I tried to purchase it on numerous occasions during its first year, but each time was met with faliure. In 2005 I saw the album in a used bin, but still couldn't bring myself to pick it up. It ended up taking me seeing them live (for free) two Thursday's ago with Mazarin to motivate me to lay down the 10 bones to experience them on disc. My reaction can be seen in two ways: well worth the wait, or what has taken me so long? Either way, Bows + Arrows makes me happy.

Higher Ground's smaller space was easily 3/4 full that evening (that equals packed in relation to typical indie shows in Central Vermont). The friend that I bribed with a free ticket grew up with the bass/keys player of Mazarin, so we made sure to catch their set (he was previously in the Lilys). I was pleasantly surprised by their sound, as it was both tight and interesting. It wasn't the most exciting set I'd ever seen, but that may be because I tend to rate bands heavily by their leader. Although I'm quite the fan of beards, the Mazarin frontman's beard and old man styled snapped-brim fredora masked any of the excitement that he might of felt. I found it hard to engage with the music or the lyrics with the lead so reclusive - it just made me tired.

The Walkmen's Hamilton Leithauser is a totally different story. They sounded dynamic, raw, hungry, and just excited to be there. The classic euro whine of the vocals, NY indie band energy, and jangling guitars caught me hook, line, and sinker. Being a bit of a novice to their catalogue (although I have a variety of their mp3s), I was amazed at how much I became absorbed. My friend hadn't heard a lick of them before, and I spotted him following the crowd's foot tapping and head bobbing. During one of the highlights of the show, "Think of a Dream I Had," my friend leaned over with a big smile on his face and said "I don't know if it's this margarita, but these guys are rocking." And they were. The other highlight was their mini-hit "The Rat," which I haven't been able to get out of my head ever since.

I certainly wasn't the only one leaving the venue with a smile and anticipation for a future indie show (and The Walkmen's next disc scheduled for April). The only bumber was that my camera's batteries died before I could get a shot. But I've got my memories. And the cd.

The Walkmen - The Rat.mp3


  • At 10:53 AM, Blogger c said…

    i think seeing them live put me over the top, too. i'm definitely looking forward to their new stuff coming out. peace.......


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