Concert Review: Hamilton Leithauser, January 20, Drake Hotel

Hamilton Leithauser @ Hamilton Supercrawl, Sept. 2014

Hamilton Leithauser @ Hamilton Supercrawl, Sept. 2014 (Photo by Wini Lo)

As a longtime fan of the Walkmen, I was predictably bummed when the band announced an indefinite hiatus towards the end of 2013. But, several months after that announcement, came the release of lead singer Hamilton Leithauser’s solo record, Black Hours. Everything in the world of music felt mostly okay again.

I saw Leithauser play a short, daytime set this past September at Hamilton’s Supercrawl festival (I must emphasize how amusing it was to me that Hamilton Leithauser played the Hamilton Supercrawl), so I mostly knew what to expect for his performance at the Drake. The album tracks translate well in a live setting and there are no Walkmen songs in the setlist.

The sold-out crowd didn’t seem to mind this at all (and neither did I). Leithuser and his three-piece band, which included guitar whiz Paul Maroon (also from the Walkmen) played some new songs, a few covers and songs from Black Hours. Highlights included a lovely cover of Frank Sinatra’s “All or Nothing at All,” a slightly more upbeat/countrified version of “I Retired” and the swoonworthy and driving “The Smallest Splinter.”

Several of the new songs were bare bones and simple, with Maroon on guitar and Leithauser on vocals. One of my favourite aspects of the Walkmen has always been Leithauser’s powerful yet raspy growl of a voice, so seeing him as a solo act does mostly fill the void that the Walkmen has left.

Posted on by Wini Lo in Concerts