The Walkmen | Live @ Phoenix, Toronto, Oct 9th 2010

When I used to go out I would know everyone that I saw,
Now I go out alone if I go out at all…

All photos [incl page header] from flickr by Fortherecord.

Just found some photos of The Walkmen gig from the Phoenix on Saturday night, figured they would provide sufficient visual accompaniment to this post. I didn’t bring my camera (though did nab this one on my phone), so these ones from Fortherecord‘s flickr page are all I’ve really got.

I’d been looking forward to the show as lot, simply because it was hitting just as Lisbon was getting released, and so you’d hope the band would be up for it. Unfortunately it didn’t really seem like that was the case, with the band not appearing too fussed by the energy from Toronto’s Saturday night crowd of students and hipsters (I am neither, I’m null in this particular Venn diagram). Now I know that nonchalance is front-man Hamilton Leithauser’s whole schtick, and so maybe ala Stephen Malkmus or J Mascis, he’s actually loving it on the inside.

But putting aside anything about stage manner, these guys were tighter than a duck’s arse. This is apparent whether rolling through moody little ditties like Canadian Girl and Donde Esta La Playa or the ridiculously high energy crescendos of Angela Surf City or In the New Year. And then there’s always The Rat, the song that brought them into the mainstream and has been dubbed one of the defining songs of the decade. It came second in the encores, and while it didn’t close the show it’s still the song everyone had in their heads leaving the Phoenix.

Much like The National circa-Alligator, you sometimes get the sense that The Walkmen would like to be known for writing charming and atmospheric (if not a bit eerie) rock music as much as they are for the so-called screamers. And yet it’s still those big energetic numbers where each band-member really lets loose (I’m talking Angela Surf City, Little House of Savages and The Rat here) where they’re undoubtedly at their best in a live setting. Whether they want to admit it or not.

Listen: The Walkmen on NPR’s World Cafe
Read: Review’s of latest album Lisbon [latest average 82%]
Watch: The Rat (and other choons), crowd videos from the Phoenix

For old times sake: “The Rat (Live from Juan’s Basement), 2008”

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