The Walkmen Make 'Stone-Cold' Rock

The Walkmen
The Horseshoe Tavern
March 3, 2004
Usually the adrenaline caused by pounding drums and bass lines that make your heart palpitate is what propels people to the merch table after a concert. Not so with The Walkman. In their case it's an atmospheric treble and an occasional rhythm-less, aimless soundscape that sent hordes of new fans stampeding to the tiny little table stacked with CDs. No wonder these guys looked so confident on stage.

Vocalist Hamilton Leithauser strolled almost languidly around the stage - picking up a guitar here, setting it down again there – while lyrics tore at his trachea as they hurtled from his lungs. His stone-like stare challenged the audience, daring everyone to try and keep the mournful keyboards from entering their cerebral cortex. And they stared back – sort of stoned-looking with mouths gaping, the occasional silly grins on their faces. Heady stuff? Damn straight. And believe me when I say I've only experienced a stronger herbal smell at a Ben Harper concert.

The Walkmen did not "rock out." They didn't really twitch and gyrate…or dance even. They were just intensely THERE. There was no need for them to make a scene on stage, the music created imagery enough in the minds of the audience collective. In short; this was perhaps the finest anti-performance to hit Toronto in a long time.

Writer: Erica Basnicki

Photo:Erica Basnicki

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