Electric is just one of the many words I would, and have, used to describe the energy and the anticipation of August 20th, 2014.
Knowing that Albert Hammond, Jr. would be opening for the Strokes was almost too much. Not really, but in true Vegas fashion I had to be dramatic.
Before the announcement of the opening band there was a lot of speculation among fans as to who the opener would be and when it was announced that it was Albert, Well… Call it fate, call it karma.
The GATRS were fortunate enough to catch up with and see Albert perform at SXSW back in March.
Before I get into the details, let’s rewind just a little.. It has to be said that Albert’s solo work deserves so much credit. If you aren’t familiar with his solo work, please do yourselves a favor and check out Yours to Keep and ¿Cómo Te Llama? They are some of my favorites.
The rebirth of Albert Hammond, Jr.’s solo work came in the form of a five song EP that was released in 2013. His newfound clarity suits him very well. AHJ has that rip-roaring guitar style that is classic mischievous Albert, mixed with a bit of melancholia.
Fast forward back to August 20th.. Walking into the venue was overwhelming yet exhilarating.
The thrilling feeling of speed walking, since you are forbidden to run, to your ideal spot always gives me a slight panic attack because it’s pretty much the hunger games: concert edition.
I was lucky to have scored a place on barricade on Nikolai Fraiture’s side of the stage with my friends but sadly that meant being a little further away from where Albert would be. Nonetheless, I was happy with my place and I was still able to see him clearly because as a short girl, this is a priority.
We were locked in and ready for AHJ to take the stage. The gleaming red spot lights were fiery, which fit Albert perfectly.
Red is synonymous with AHJ and now we know that the talented and gorgeous Justyna Sroka, actually she’s now the lucky Justyna Hammond, Jr. contributed and did the blazing lights display.
Everyone Gets a Star
Ever Fallen In Love With Someone (You Shouldn’t’ve Fallen In Love With)? Buzzcocks cover
Last Caress The Misfits cover
Having seen AHJ before, I knew I was in for a really great opening act.
Albert is one of those agile performers that give everything he has to performing.
He is incredibly energetic, the way he moves on stage with his guitar is just incredible. You just can’t can’t take your eyes off of him and why would you anyway?
I was in my element. In full concert bliss while watching AHJ, the red lights were in full affect and making Albert look even more incendiary.
Smiling and thanking us throughout the night, Albert looked really happy to be there on the stage. You can tell he is more comfortable and proudly showcasing his hard work.
I loved his whole set but my standouts were AHJ’s cover of Buzzcocks Ever Fallen In Love With Someone (You Shouldn’t’ve Fallen In Love With)? The room was amped and excited when this started, people were jumping up and down and dancing along to Albert and his shaky knee playing cover. Everything about this cover was tremendous, the vocals, the intense vitality of the song. It was perfect.
Some more standouts were Cooker Ship, which is where he goes full on front man with those vocals.
Carnal Cruise always gets me, it’s like a trapeze.. It’s a nice and steady start but then goes into full blast tricks (with more steady parts in between), it’s energetic and gets you pumped.
GfC is a favorite (truth be told, I am biased because they all are) this song always makes me want to dance. Albert’s voice soars in this song, it had me embarrassingly singing along with him (thankfully you don’t hear me embarrass myself as much on the video) and then the booming of the drums and the raucous guitar just makes you want to move.
St. Justice is another personal favorite. The incredibly drum blaring, bass heavy song along with the poignancy of Albert’s vocals is emphatically brilliant.
Albert is amazing live, he has intense stamina throughout his performances and great banter with the crowd and he isn’t afraid to say something back to those who yell things asking about the Strokes with the quick sharp wit of his. Not like he was ever afraid before.
The GATRS are looking forward to the LP he is currently working on because his solo work on AHJ is less in tangent with the Strokes and even some of his earlier solo stuff but in a good way. You can tell he is more at ease and more comfortable with himself as an artist.