The Walkmen play Webster: the best band to play a chain clothing store ever - Oh My Rockness

Rockness Recommends

The Walkmen play Webster: the best band to play a chain clothing store ever

October 27, 2004
True story. So I rolled up to the American Eagle on Prince Street a few weeks back. I'd just had a good day at the OTB and had a few extra bucks burning a hole in my sweatpants. So I thought, why not buy some cool-yet-conservative pants? Imagine my disbelief when, as I headed straight for the Tall 'n' Husky section, I stumbled upon The Walkmen playing on a makeshift stage. Swear to God, they were right in front of the new-but-vintage-looking ironic t-shirt section.

What were my Walkmen, the band that made me buy a Saturn, doing playing at American Eagle? Did they think their manager said American Idol? I mean, American Eagle has my benjamins for the jeans, not the jams. Could it be that the mighty Walkmen had fallen so far in such a short time? All of my fears were put to rest after the "show" when front man Hamilton Leithauser told me he did the twenty-minute gig because it would pay his rent for the next four months. Phew! Now I understood. For four months rent, I'd play the White Castle wearing nothing but a straw hat and a coconut bra. I generously offered to buy him a free drink at the open bar, but I guess he had to run off to talk to someone who wasn't a dude. Also understandable.

The Walkmen are always a treat to see. They're so much more aggressive and angry and well...loud than on their recordings. You know Hamilton is going to bring the goods, as he sings and screams and sways like any exceptional front man should. But one thing that always strikes me when I see The Walkmen live is how fucking brutal drummer Matt Barrick is. It's worth the price of admission alone just to see him attack the skins with controlled fury. It is Barrick who sets the ferocious tone for the band's sets.

The members of The Walkmen have been playing together for a long time (from both The Walkmen and FireEater days) and it shows. Their sets are always cohesive, their songs always tight, and it's clear that they're all very good at what they do. If they keep it up, in a few years The Walkmen should be able to own the whole American Eagle franchise. And who knows, maybe they can get me a discount on one of those "Zero to Bitch in 2.5 Seconds" shirts. Can you say H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S?

The Walkmen play Webster Hall Friday, October 29th.


Get new NYC announcements, free show info, ticket giveaways and more...