HAMILTON LEITHAUSER: THE DRAKE, 01/20/2015
With The Walkmen still on their so-called “extreme hiatus,” the band’s frontman, Hamilton Leithauser, is using the newly found free time to his advantage by writing, recording and touring his solo material. Still riding high after last year’s release of his stellar debut solo outing, Black Hours, Leithauser finally found his way to Toronto in an effort to not only showcase those songs but to also bring out some new ones as well. Leithauser brought a whipsmart band along for the occasion; fans of The Walkmen would have noticed that Paul Maroon was handling guitar duties, while Skye Skjelset of Fleet Foxes and Hugh Macintosh of Leithauser’s first band The Recoys (and also his brother in law, coincidentally) took up bass and drums respectively.
Hamilton came out of the gate with a new song and would play three more before the night was over, and while I can’t give you song titles, I can tell you that these songs were in keeping with what was heard on Black Hours…which is another way of saying it was very good!
Of course the bulk of the set consisted of the Black Hours songs and of these the airy and sprightly “11 O’Clock Friday Night”, the Walkmen-like “I Don’t Need Anyone” and the unabashed pop of “Alexandra” struck a favourable chord with the assembled throng. Near the end of the set Leithauser excused the rhythm section for a few numbers and decided to go it alone with Maroon’s gorgeous reverbed tones painting the picture.
What or how long does an “extreme hiatus” actually entail is anyone’s guess, but if Leithauser can keep releasing material of this quality than it will help ease the pain of The Walkmen’s absense. One thing is for certain though: No matter if he is fronting that band or touring his own solo efforts, Hamilton Leithauser remains one of the most
engaging live performers in rock music today!
By: Johnny Hooper