Albert Hammond Jr. at Village Underground
Better known as The Strokes’ guitarist, Albert Hammond Jr. also enjoys a moderately successful solo career and that’s why yesterday Village Underground was packed with people. This was the last leg of a mini UK tour in support of his latest EP, AHJ, released just a few months ago, which Hammond played in its entirety along with other songs – most from his debut album.
Hammond and his accompanying band hopped onstage, welcomed by what seemed an eagerly awaiting crowd. It was immediately clear that the artist would rock the night away, but the audience reaction was a little unexpected: warm throughout, but not as enthusiastic as it should have been. Excluding a couple of tracks that Hammond played acoustically, the concert was pretty much a fast machine with pounding beats from the drums and high-speed melodies flowing from both the guitars and the bass chords. An hour and a half of pure rock ‘n’ roll, at times on the verge of punk -particularly in covers of Buzzcocks’ Ever Fallen In Love?, Guided By Voices’ Postal Blowfish and Misfits’ Last Caress – but the energy shown onstage felt wasted on a swarm of motionless people.
The show wasn’t technically flawless: Hammond sang into a microphone whose reverberations often engulfed his voice, and a few times the instrumentals were overwhelmed by feedback. Nonetheless, the band played with vigour and emitted a great vibe. Back to the 101 and GfC were among the songs eliciting more participation, and Hard to Live in the City and Call an Ambulance in the encore eventually raised the bar of a powerful gig that deserved far more visible enjoyment.
Photo: Eric Farias
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