Another night, another show at the Troubadour. This time it was the Walkmen doing what I guess amounts to training to keep in shape and to sharpen their repertoire. No news of a new album from them, but based on last night's show it will be soon. Practically half the set, which felt very brief, was devoted to new tracks. The great news is that the new songs are terrific. Hamilton Leithauser is sounding more and more like Bob Dylan and the slow-burning songs are taking on more of a bluesy stomp. What I appreciated most about the new songs, whose titles I mostly missed, was that they displayed a bigger, bruised heart than I've seen or heard from the band. "I Lost You," one of the songs whose title Hamilton announced, was one such song that felt as big as it sounded.
The good songs are good enough that I almost didn't mind the fact that the band deprived the crowd of their favorites. Almost. Why couldn't they give us new songs and play "The Rat" as well? I could blame it on Hamilton being surly, but the truth of the matter was that he looked to be in great spirits. He thanked the crowd often and smiled. The crowd egged them on for two encores, which the band granted, but even knowing that the crowd was hoping for "The Rat" or "We've Been Had" or "Little House of Savages" or--in my case--"Lost in Boston" the band denied them. For their encore they did another new song and "Bows and Arrows." The band granted the audience "Wake Up" for a second encore. After that the devoted fans were still hoping for another encore, but they were denied.
In the scheme of things, the show was a disappointment for what it didn't provide, but it was a hell of an entertaining show. I missed the messy intensity of the other Walkmen show I saw last year at the Glass House, but it did seem like the band was more into the spirit of things last night. Watching Matt Barrick pound on the drums is a show unto itself. He literally bounces off his chair when he drums. They should think about putting him closer to the front of the stage so everyone can take a gander at him. Then again, he might steal the show.
On a side note, Britt Daniels of Spoon was at the show last night. Spoon is in town to play a show with Feist tonight at the Gibson Amphitheater. I would say he was a fan, but it didn't look like he was paying much attention to the show. I saw him walk out during the set only to walk back in a little later.