Concert Review: A.A. Bondy, the Walkmen, October 9, Phoenix

Playing at the Phoenix Concert Theater is a definitive stepping stone towards marking an act’s “arrival” on the map in Toronto. The familiar map of an indie band’s rise is often through seeing someone headline at Lee’s and graduate to the Phoenix, or open at one and headline at the other is a path most Toronto-based concert-goers will be familiar with. On the whole, the Phoenix isn’t a terrible venue; it’s larger for one, and well, that’s about it. I’ll echo the sentiments of most everyone else I know by saying it’s nice to see good bands graduate to larger audiences.

So on Saturday night, it was nice to see that AA Bondy had generated enough buzz to attract a pretty packed house. I guess I was pretty much the last person to figure out who this guy is, having missed his first splash as the lead singer of Verbena. For those of you unfamiliar with the folk act, lead man Scott Bondy is kinda reminiscent of Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. At least based on what I heard skimming before the show; their set was notably a helluva lot noisier and more energetic but maybe they saved the faster stuff for the last half of their set (this was an early concert…they went on at 8:20 and the Walkmen took the stage at 9:40).

A.A. Bondy – Oh The Vampyre by Trip Fontaine

As for the Walkmen, I’m happy to report that they have not gone forgotten. The Walkmen were one of those bands that you used to hear a lot about until the floodgates of 2008-2009 unleashed a non-stop tidal wave of Brooklyn. That’s too bad, because 2008’s You & Me was one of the best releases of the year, harbouring the same downbeat chill-ergy that make an enjoyable album. I haven’t checked out this fall’s Lisbon yet, but based on what I heard last night they’re on the same moonbeam.

Live, everything takes a backseat to their lead singer (Hamilton Leithauser)’s incredibly soulful 21st century Joe Cocker-like pipes, and their drummer, Matt Barrick. While I think the projective quality of Hamilton’s singing is easy to imagine based on their studio work, what is always less noticeable (at least to me), is how much high quality drumming can raise the bar of a live show. My never-ending complaints of too loud drums are well documented so I was happy to see that someone has finally gotten it right.  Check them out performing the Rat on Letterman.

I couldn’t find their Toronto setlist but it looks comparable enough to their Boston show

If anyone has compiled their setlist, please post it here.

The Walkmen – Stranded by statemagazine

Posted on by Allison in Concerts

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2 Responses to Concert Review: A.A. Bondy, the Walkmen, October 9, Phoenix

  1. Allison

    Walkmen setlist – Oct9/2010

    1) Victory
    2) On The Water
    3) Angela Surf City
    4) Blue As Your Blood
    5) All Hands and the Cook
    6) Blizzard of ’96
    7) We’ve Been Had
    8) Donde Esta La Playa
    9) Thinking of a Dream
    10) Canadian Girl
    11) While I Shovel the Snow
    12) Woe Is Me
    13) Juveniles
    14) In the New Year

    15) New Country
    16) The Rat
    17) I Lost You

  2. Allison

    I didn’t even realize that the person who reviewed this show was also named Allison. Huh.

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