The Walkmen at Pitchfork Music Festival (Chicago, IL)
Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: Live, Music.
Though missing the set’s opener, “The Sky Above,” my Walkmen experience was best summed up by the following songs that the band played. Trailing one of my favorite’s by the group, “In The New Year,” was “Red River,” which made surprisingly good use of a triangle player, “Postcards From Tiny Islands,” and “Canadian Girl,” which found a horn quartet chiming in nicely with the production. My only complaint of the Walkmen’s performance is one that I have of its albums; through all its ebbs and flows the band makes great use of its talent, but terrible lack of momentum.
One of my favorite aspects to the group’s recordings is that the Walkmen’s lead vocalist Hamilton Leithauser seems to always convey an unusual demeanor—one that maximizes power while seemingly minimizing effort. The band’s set becomes problematic, however, when its pace slows and Leithauser removes himself as the centerpiece of the performance. When he and the rest of the Walkmen are in full gear, offering a deafening rumble of sound, the band is at its best—but during its Pitchfork performance it maintained the same inconsistent pace that it does on its albums; one that maintains little momentum despite clearly depicting the band’s diverse range of talents. Maybe it wasn’t that I was dissatisfied with the performance, or its lack of sonic appeal, but rather I was just in the mood for something sharper at the time. That might be why I left roughly three quarters of the way through the Walkmen’s set to see what was going on with the Japandroids. A decision I don’t regret in the least.
[This post was first published by Culture Bully.]