“Are you from The Strokes?” a fan asked flippantly from the front row of The Bowery Ballroom midway during Albert Hammond Jr‘s set. “Am I from The Strokes?”, he replied. “Somebody get this guy out of here”, which was met with a sly smile from Hammond himself and laughs from the crowd as well. Hammond’s show honestly did not really feel like a concert at all. Yes, he is rhythm guitarist extraordinaire from the beloved band, but there is way more on the surface. It was as laid back as a bunch of old friends coming together again to rekindle old conversations with good music. This was the second of two sold out shows, so many fans came again.
You’ve probably heard the first band, Prinze George, at your local Starbucks and didn’t even realize it. They are electronic mixed with a little bit of alternative. When I go to shows, I’m always interested in the openers – they can really set the tone for the show and can open your ear to something new. Everybody was focused on the all-white clad band as they played songs like “Upswing” and “Victor”. You should check this band out because they’ll probably end up in a lot of year-end lists.
I’m not going to lie, I’m a big Strokes fan. One of the reasons why I made the trek through the hallowed (I use that term loosely) NJ Transit express train to check out the second show. If you have seen Hammond, you are very much aware that he can hold down the stage on his own. Before his set, fans turned to each other to share when their first Strokes or Hammond solo show was, showing pictures they took and even old tickets. It’s cool to see that bond so strong. Opening up with “Stranger Tidings”, a track off of his 2014 EP AHJ, Hammond enthralled everyone with an hour and a half set that featured material that ranged from Hammond’s recently released album, Momentary Masters, to his first record, Yours To Keep. There were some small technical difficulties that happened in the middle of the set, but Hammond didn’t miss a beat, continuing the performance acoustically.
With The Strokes announcing that they will be recording new music soon, the fan excitement level is through the roof. Albert Hammond Jr is not only a very important piece of that machine, but very strong within his own musical realm as well.
Photos and review by M.J. Rawls. Follow him on Twitter (@viewtifulj21)