Ever encounter a complete, “duh,” moment-as in, a moment when the light spreads across your face when you realize the C in the Chic-Fil-A logo is a chicken at the ripe age of 20? I tend to stumble upon those little common sense “ah-hah,” moments with a shocking frequency. The week that I was offered a ticket to the Albert Hammond Jr. show, I had a serious senior moment. The day of the performance, March 20th to be specific, I found myself jamming to some of his tunes. In my head I couldn’t help but think, “this guy sort of sounds like The Strokes.” Later, 30 minutes prior to the show, my benevolent friend Michael explained to my space cadet self why: Albert Hammond Jr. was their lead guitarist. High school, Strokes loving version of me was crying internally. Chalk up that epic, “duh,” moment in the books.
Albert Hammond Jr. will not be defined by his musical career with the band, however, as he has been producing his own wonderful music independently since 2006. Hammond Jr.’s musical style pulls distorted lyrical components (similarly to The Strokes), but differentiates his own music by incorporating more aggressive guitar production and distinctively upbeat tunes. His latest album, Francis Trouble, was birthed from the mystique surrounding a miscarried twin Albert learned about as he aged. The album itself has a beautiful explanation in the form of a comic strip, assuring listeners that there is entertainment provided to all from first glance to the bitter end of his last track.
Hosted by White Oak Music Hall, Albert Hammond Jr.’s opener Hinds destroyed their set. Entering the stage with a surf-pop anthem, the girl group took a turn for the wild as their tracks built. By the end of their short set, the Spanish girl group had almost punk sounding offerings chock full of aggressive vocals and powerful instrument accompaniment. Personally, I was blown away by the end of their performance as a seemingly innocuous group of musicians that led off their performance with such a soft track transformed into rock goddesses before my very eyes. I highly recommend you catching one of their live performances, as the band’s unmatched energy and spunk could in no way be adequately captured by any recording studio.
The crowd was dancing and restless by the time Albert Hammond Jr. burst across the stage. Instead of the three-piece suit he normally dons, he sported skinny jeans, a bomber jacket and tee. Perhaps representing the alter ego presented by Francis Trouble, his fashion sense was notable in this performance. Albert Hammond Jr.’s setlist focused primarily on his new work, including new gem Set to Attack, but the band graciously threw in classics like Carnal Cruise, Side Boob, and Everyone Gets a Star. The energy of the crowd was pushed to the limits by Hammond Jr. himself, as he jumped up and down throughout the set, encouraging others to join in on his manic outbursts. Fans were more than happy to oblige, pushing out as much energy as the band was releasing themselves. There was no escape for the group as the time drew close to an end: an encore was demanded. At some shows fans wander into the night. Not this one. Luckily, as they had on all fronts this evening, Albert Hammond Jr. delivered with full force.
Even after the performance Hammond Jr. made a gracious effort to sign all fans’ items and take pictures with them as well (see above). Still rolling off the energy of the show, the ladies from Hinds ensured every single guest interested had a goofy photo to go home with. The care and attentive nature of these performers reminded this writer of just how fantastic of an experience bands can create for their audience, and how everyone should be held to the same standard as these talented performers.
Do yourself a favor and download both these bands’ music. Go to their shows. I promise you will not find one filled with as much energy, joy, and good vibes.