Music Feature

The Walkmen 10th Anniversary Tour Triumphs in Philly

by Kim-Thao Nguyen
The experimental indie favorite celebrated a decade of raw auditory swagger at Philadelphia's Union Transfer. Photos by Kim-Thao Nguyen
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What can be described as a passive aggressive rant to impatient fans, The Walkmen appropriately kicked off the last stop in their 10th anniversary tour in Philadelphia earlier this month, screaming the agitated chords of "The Rat":“You’ve got a nerve to be asking a favor…”

But who can blame the witnessing true believers packed in the matching nostalgic halls of Union Transfer, especially when all could agree that the 30-minute delay was worth it? After a decade of continuously relatable anthems and hypnotizing performances, The Walkmen have secured a firm and loyal spot in Philly’s heart as honorary local heroes (by way of D.C., by way of Brooklyn…) while long distinguishing themselves from the New York indie music scene since their 2001 debut.

With a sound that could be described as Bob Dylan-meets-Joy Division, The Walkmen have drummed up uniquely positive reviews to the tune of Pitchfork’s “kings of dejection,” with front man Hamilton Leithauser hailed as “pathetic and needy but still smooth.” Such a normally backhanded compliment could not be more true— if there’s anything that the casually conspicuous but aptly-named tour “An Evening with The Walkmen” showed, it’s that they’ve still got it and will continue to deliver.

Throughout every memorable lyrical celebration and trademark devastation, Leithauser continues to confidently belt out each deliberate word as if it were a despicable lover, while drummer Matt Barrick steals the stage’s horizon with his automatic spirited beats. Fans and the newly tuned-in can’t help but to be seduced by the two-hour collection of the band’s oldies but goodies, with sneak peeks from their upcoming album. The night was complete with much-anticipated performances of “We’ve Been Had,” the go-to, resigned lullaby which hit every mix CD circa 2002, and the blossoming refrain of “In the New Year.” The crafty mash of crisp guitar strums and echoing bass lines bound the demanding build-up of “On the Water,” but all members took a step back during Leithauser’s haunting solo of “Red Moon,” his wise croons lifted by the soulful salute of accompanying noble horns.

“An Evening with The Walkmen” was most certainly a night to remember. Here’s to ten more years of these revered gentlemen of the stage—we impatiently wait for your return.

Follow me on Twitter @keemthao

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