Walkmen @ El Rey: The Losanjealous Review
The Walkmen hit the El Rey last Thursday. Last time I saw these guys, they were at Spaceland following Sunset Junction. If memory serves we were all wondering how many Halls™ Mentho-Lyptus Hamilton Leithauser has to go through a day to keep his voice in tip-top scream-sing shape. “Three packs.” “Naw naw man, it’s tea with lemon and honey®.” “Naw naw man, Fisherman’s Friend™. It’s Fisherman’s Friend.” “You’re all shit, it’s water. And no cigars. And no boozing!” “And no women.” “No women, cigars, boozing or water.” “It’s Halls.” Etc.
These guys are so good. I mean, even my dad likes them. They won’t be playing El Reys for long.
Show after show they take the stage. Leithauser dons a snarl and proceeds to scream-sing his balls off for a good hour or two as the crowd subsequently gets blown away. If you haven’t seen them yet, what the hell are you waiting for. Vintage guitars last but Leithauser’s voice isn’t going to last forever. I give them 10, maybe 15 stellar years before he’s reduced to a wheeze-mumbled hybrid of Dylan and Nick Cave. You’ll finally turn out to see a show. At that point they’ll be playing something like the Forum, or Staples, oddly enough with Nick Cave and Bob Dylan opening as summer novelty. And then they’ll take the stage. Leithauser will don the famous snarl. You will be in the upper balcony, row 22 to be precise, way too far away to see the snarl but the big screens will be rack-focused on Leithauser. Anticipation will boil feverish. And then suddenly you’ll get this amazing music with a choked garbla-wheeze where you expected scream-singing and you will say, and this is the quote, “Shit I totally missed the scream-singing phase, didn’t I.”
See them while they’re in their prime. All I’m saying.
This show was so damn good. I’m not fully sold on the Louisiana song yet, but the horns were a nice touch (pictured below). Ok it’s growing on me. Fine. Fuck it, I love the Louisiana song too. I said it. I must admit, though…The entire set I couldn’t stop thinking about Seat #4 in the van. Who got stuck with it. Who got it, boys. Talk to me.