March 7th, 2011

Loopster Live: The Walkmen at Fitzgerald’s

Lessons are learned around every corner. Even the important ones that you’ve forgotten for some reason will pop up, not to be denied. On Thursday night, I remembered it’s not just the music that makes a show, it’s the crowd. The Walkmen shook the rafters at Fitzgerald’s, but it was the ticket-buying public that nearly brought the house down.

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A quick set by the opening band, The Head & The Heart, seemed to leave everyone wanting more. Text messages kept popping up like “HOW GOOD are they?!” and “Holy mother f. I love them more than I did before.” With that sound that has become the indie standard, The Head & The Heart won over the cramped floor of Fitzgerald’s. At the very least, those with access to my phone number had become insta-fans.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t have the gumption to fight the crowd to get close enough to take decent pictures of the band. Well, there was that and the fact that I needed a bit of lubrication from the bar in the back to loosen up the ol’ photo-taking joints. Which leads me to this, there isn’t anything more loathsome than over-paying for booze at a concert. HOB gauges you. Warehouse Live tears you a new one. Fitzgerald’s, on the other hand, served me 16 oz cans of Pine Belt Pale Ale for a cool $5.

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A dense crowd continued to pile in after The Head & The Heart. It was one of those throngs that make you feel guilty for bringing along a bulky camera. “Yes, I’m here for the music,” I wanted to say as people bumped into the black weight slung over my shoulder. I found spots by the men’s room and sound board that were serviceable for both photos and drinking in the music.

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If you’re looking for a set list, you’ve come to the wrong place. The music of The Walkmen is something I have always enjoyed, but couldn’t discern one song from another save a select few. Theirs were the albums that I bought because of the promise of seeing them live. Energy bridled in laser etches, but I bought them because I wanted to be reminded to catch them live if I ever got the chance. Obviously, I headed up the minority. The rest of the venue shouted along with Hamilton Leithauser.

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They proved me right on Thursday night thanks to the raucous crowd. Not that there was a moment of doubt. I could have walked into Fitzgerald’s with no inkling of who The Walkmen were and I would have walked out a fanatic.

[Check out more and better photos from the night on Flickr]

— Paul

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