HAMMONDSMALL.jpg

Click the photo for an audio slideshow.
All photos by Michael Alan Goldberg 

Albert Hammond, Jr., with the Mooney Suzuki
Date: 
March 2, 2007
Venue: 

"/>

Last Night: Albert Hammond, Jr. and the Mooney Suzuki at the Crocodile

Stroke me, stroke me...

HAMMONDSMALL.jpg

Click the photo for an audio slideshow.
All photos by Michael Alan Goldberg 

Albert Hammond, Jr., with the Mooney Suzuki
Date: 
March 2, 2007
Venue: 
Crocodile Cafe

The nice woman standing next to me at the lip of the Crocodile Cafe stage leaned over and noted, "You know how when you go to a movie and all the previews suck, you know the movie's gonna suck? It's like that at shows...when the crowd sucks, the show usually sucks, too." She was referring to the gang of beer-addled meatheads standing behind us, waiting for Albert Hammond, Jr. (best known as the rhythm guitarist for the Strokes) and his band to come out -- they were shouting at The Mooney Suzuki (more on them shortly) to "get off the stage" as the group was breaking down its gear; singing, err, mangling the Strokes' "Last Night"; and arguing who was gonna bum rush the stage and snag Hammond's set list.
 
Fortunately for us, Hammond defied the odds and put on one hell of a show. This is the part where I mention that I'm not the biggest Strokes fan in the world, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but the singer-guitarist and his four-piece band blew me away as they blasted through a 50-minute set of propulsive power-pop that felt more like 15 minutes, playing the entirety of Hammond's debut solo album, Yours to Keep, as well as covers of Frank Black's "Old Black Dawning" and Guided by Voices' "Postal Blowfish." Throughout, the quintet was musically tight, yet loose in mood -- Hammond, his guitar strapped high on his torso as usual, wore a carefree grin for much of the set, goofing around with his bandmates and exuding a self-deprecating charm as he made it clear to the packed crowd that he's still getting used to this frontman thing. Of the players that accompanied him, guitarist Steve Schiltz (of the band Longwave) was the biggest hero, drawing fantastic riffs and textures from his fretboard and pedal board. Once finished, the band didn't return for an encore, but the audience seemed more than thrilled with what they'd just seen; even the meathead factor was nullified by Hammond's good vibes.
 
New York City foursome the Mooney Suzuki definitely lived up to its motto of "1% Inspiration, 99% Perspiration!" while warming up (and winning over) most of the all-ages crowd with an incredibly high-spirited, loud, sweat-soaked 13-song set that showcased their mastery of raucous, Mod-flecked garage-rock. The biggest cheers were reserved for closer "Alive and Amplified" -- from their 2004 album of the same name -- which most probably recognized from that ubiquitous TV commercial where the guy base jumps from his house on a cliff down to (what else?) a Suzuki Grand Vitara waiting below. But the rest of the set was just as dynamic -- frontman Sammy James, Jr. didn't have a whole lot to say except "Let's just keep it going..." as the band lurched into songs spanning their entire 10-year career, including a handful of songs from their now-delayed fourth full-length, Have Mercy. James and guitarist Graham Tyler spent a good deal of the performance perched on the monitors or standing on the Croc's stage-right speaker cabinet, axes held aloft for maximum rock impact. And not even a couple of post-set hecklers could ruin that good fun.

 

 
comments powered by Disqus

Friends to Follow