Every time I see The Walkmen, they blow me away, and Wednesday night was no exception. The quintet kicked off its fall tour at Los Angeles’ historic John Anson Ford Amphitheater, a beautiful venue set deep in the woods. “This place is great,” singer Hamilton Leithauser said in awe a number of times. “We’re so happy to be playing here.” The five-piece began with “Line By Line,” off its 2012 release, Heaven, and continued with three more tracks from the album before diving into “Blue As Your Blood,” off 2010’a Lisbon. The indie rockers followed that with another track off the album, “Juveniles,” which was accompanied by a horn quartet.
The horns stayed and filled the intimate amphitheater with booming noise for a few songs before disappearing into the backdrop. Leithauser stayed calm and collected, dressed in his iconic black suite, and the crowd followed his lead, sitting and swaying in their seats. But this all changed when the band played “Heartbreaker.” The peppy song rejuvenated the crowd, as people began to rise from their seats to dance. More and more stood as The Walkmen delved into the most energetic song of its set—“Angela Surf City.” Leithauser’s neck veins pulsed as he strained his voice and screamed the chorus, pacing around the stage. By the time the five-piece played its set closer, “The New Year,” both he and the crowd were in their element, feeding off of each other’s intense energy.
Before The Walkmen took the stage, Milo Greene riled up the crowd of its hometown. During its 40-minute long set, the melodic folk outfit played selections off its self-titled debut album; beginning with its latest single “Don’t You Give Up On Me.” It’s impressive to see a band where four out of the five members harmonize on each song, and even more so when the members switch duties during their set, including lead vocals.
After virtually each song, the quintet would scatter and regroup, each member standing in a different spot with a new instrument in his or her hands with Curtis Marrero sitting proudly behind the drum kit. And though guitarist Robbie Arnett and bassist/keyboardist Marlana Sheetz held the primary vocal responsibilities, bassist Graham Fink took the reins during “Take A Step,” and guitarist Andrew Heringer during “Autumn Tree,” the first song the band ever wrote together.
The show was not only a stellar tour kickoff, but a nice end of summer celebration as well. It was nice to look up at the warm, cloudless sky, with the scent of pine filling your nostrils, and amazing music filling your ears. Check out a list of tour dates here.