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The Walkmen w/ Kaiser Chiefs, The Little Ones – April 27, 2007 – The Warfield, San Francisco – Jef Hoskins

The Walkmen

What would you expect from The Walkmen live? Probably a sped up rendition of their music, a bit more raw, and probably even a bit punk, right? A little dancing and jumping around, some guitar antics… Us too. But we were all wrong

Quite to the contrary, for this show at the Warfield in San Francisco, The Walkmen clan is astutely dressed in slacks, button up shirts with ties, and even the occasional blazer. The stage is lit simply and softly. It looks like a scene from Dead Poets Society, in which the boys are gathered for a clandestine late-night meeting in a Wellesley dorm room.

These guys certainly look more like law students than a rock band; in fact, one audience member declared, “Well, clearly at least one of these guys studied English Lit with a minor in art history.”

Rather than making anything raucous out of their repertoire, they perform craftily and carefully, re-enacting each sound as if it were the studio session. It’s actually quite mesmerizing to watch and listen to the complexity with this entourage entertains.

The strangest factor here is the audience reaction. While it is certainly varied, there is a sizeable number of people pogo-ing and pumping their fists in the air as they sing along with vocalist Hamilton Leithauser. It’s like a mosh pit in slow motion, and is very intriguing.

The group culls evenly from its growing discography, playing all the songs that you assume would be radio hits, if The Walkmen had radio hits. Rather, they don’t get too far beyond college radio; and that fact is well represented by the very collegiate attendees.

But that seems to be working quite well for The Walkmen, and judging by the reactions that night, it appears that everyone here is in agreement with what the hits are.


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