When I think of the Strokes there are two attributes that come to mind, their sound and their style. When the strokes debuted their soon to be classic Is This It, they were often compared to a lot of bands like the Velvet Underground.
But today those comparisons have gone by the wayside, now bands try to sound like the Strokes, and they especially try to look like the Strokes. Take a look in any crowd at a rock or indie show, then look at a picture of the Strokes, they influenced that style whether you know it or not.
When I think of the Strokes sound I think of two things, distorted vocals and dueling guitars from Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond Jr. For fans that made it out to the 20th Century Theatre Monday night they got to see and hear the style and sound of Albert Hammond Jr.
With an impressive gold suit and a Clash t-shirt, Hammond took the stage for what would be an oddly intimate show. At points feeling like there were only ten people in the crowd because of how Hammond would interact with the crowd.
There were points throughout the show that Hammond literally was having a conversation with the crowd. He could’ve advertised “Q & A” along with the show, and for the fans that were in the crowd you could tell how much that meant to them. As for me I was watching one of the guitar players from the Strokes, just enjoying himself.
There was no urgency with the show, Hammond seemed to be truly having fun playing songs off his 2018 album Francis Terrible, which received with much critical praise along hits off of his previous three albums.
Francis Trouble, was inspired by the miscarriage of Hammond’s twin while in the womb. Creating an alter ego “Francis,” would inspire a new sound for Hammond and a new beginning for his solo career.
The show at times felt like you were watching the rebirth of Hammond’s solo act, a small venue for his name and a truly energetic and fun performance. At 38, Hammond had no intention of standing by his mic stand all night. Jumping in the crowd and around on stage, you got a theatrical performance from Hammond.
Hammond’s band sounded incredibly tight as well, still having a hint of the Stokes in their sound while being all talented in their own right. The show began with the single from Hammond’s 2015 album Caught by My Shadow, then ran through songs like Far Away Truths and Set to Attack, singles off of the latest album.
The highlight of the performance may have come along when Hammond played the song humorously titled Side Boob. Worried that he was going to mess up the song he had the band stop and start again, admittedly explaining to the crowd that he messes it up often. A small little taste of what Hammond’s stage presence was like Monday evening, personal and refreshing.