Saturday, July 12, 2008

albert hammond jr. @ spaceland

Aah, Spaceland in July. There's no better way to spend a Friday night than in the small venue, packed with too many people1 and just the right amount of geeky enthusiasm and maybe not quite enough air conditioning, the whole crowd bouncing and quivering and sweating along in time to really loud, really fun music with the bass turned up high enough to vibrate every atom of your body enough that you can actually see the sound waves. Which pretty much sums up Albert Hammond, Jr.'s gig last night.

We arrived at the sold-out show, startled by the line that went literally around the building of people hoping to buy tickets. Clearly Hammond's audience is a devoted one. We sat through two mediocre openers as the crowd grew, and then grew some more, and finally grew to the point that I had to accept the fact that my prized bubble of personal space was no longer recognized by those around me. But all of my misanthropy flew out the window when Hammond and his bandmates took to the stage.

Regardless of cancelled flights, lost luggage and missing guitars, they were a very tight band of very impressive musicians. The set represented tracks from both of his albums (Yours to Keep and ¿Como Te Llama?, released Tuesday), and every song was fun and flawless and loud. Every song is so well-written and was so wonderfully performed that they felt like you've known them for years, even if the band themselves just learned them: people begged to hear "Scared" from the moment the band dook the stage. "It's impossible," Hammond apologized, looking slightly sheepish, "we haven't learned it yet."

We left the club to wait in line for the valet to find our car with only one regret: the show was far too short. We stood on the street, sweating, ears ringing, bodies slowly adjusting to the lack of crisp guitars and pounding drums and awe-inspiring bass that had taken over our bodies for the previous hour, and we contemplated where we'd seen the guitarist, Marc Philippe Eskenazi before2. And then suddenly the band was on the street with us, posing for photos and shaking hands with the masses. Which leaves us with only two conclusions to draw: a. Hipsters, while often awesome, can occasionally be really, really nice guys too. Or b. Secretly, Hammond and his crew are would-be hipsters dressed up like the real thing to appease the record execs. Either way, we couldn't be happier.

1. One of whom, apparently, was John Krasinski.
2. Eternal gratitude to anyone who can provide us with an answer to this conundrum.

(photo Albert Hammond, Jr.: Paste Magazine)

mp3: "In Transit" by Albert Hammond Jr. from Yours to Keep
mp3: "Gfc" by Albert Hammond Jr. from ¿Como Te Llama?


Christina said...

Marc was in the Mooney Suzuki for a couple of years. He was also in a band called the Sexy Magazines.

Ryan said...

All true except that first band was actually really good. The 2nd opener was mediocre

Chava said...

Good words.