If I had a voice like Hamilton Leithauser…
I’d sing in the shower so that my neighbors could hear. I’d find a way to lead a rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at AT&T. I’d stop arguments and mediate conflicts through focused crooning. I’d stop relegating my karaoke efforts to private underground closets in Japantown and start queuing up at The Mint.
And I’d be excused for boning San Francisco in favor of tour support for Ray LaMontagne.
That happened in April. Since then, the album came out, the gig at The Chapel was rescheduled, and all was forgiven.
Saturday’s show didn’t sell out until the early afternoon, apparently, which would seem to suggest that maybe some fans still held a grudge. And I had to persuade at least one of them, MH, that it’d be worth it. He got his ticket at 1:00 PM. But by the time the opener, LA’s Avid Dancer, finished their brief (five-song?) set, the dancefloor was packed.
No Walkmen songs (even though Paul Maroon was onstage with him), and no surprise covers. Black Hours in its entirety, in an atmosphere that hearkened back to a day when the guy (or girl) with the microphone competed with clinking cocktails glasses and raucous conversation for control of the room.
In fact, earlier that night, I had just been explaining to MMJ and MH that I have always had issues isolating sound. If I’m in a coffee shop and the music playing on the overhead speakers isn’t the loudest thing happening, I’m unable to pick it out. I will be aware that music is playing, but I won’t be able to recognize the music. At least, not without extreme effort.
So it wasn’t until I witnessed half a dozen head swivels in my immediate vicinity, mean-mugging someone over my left shoulder, that I became aware of one of the guys with whom Leithauser was competing.
Remember the bluetooth-wearing, convertible-driving douchebag from one of those early Breaking Bad episodes? The one who’s yammering away on the phone, gets under Walter White’s skin, and then gets his engine MacGyver-ed into a spectacular explosion? That was the guy. He was chatting up the bass player from Avid Dancer and I heard enough of this you-and-me-and-everybody-else conversation to pick out something about a new catamaran and expensive tequila. He even had slicked-back blond hair like an 80’s film villain. By the time I picked up on it, he either got the clue (which means that he wasn’t as douche-y as I would like to believe) or simply needed more drinks, and left our area.
If I had a voice like Hamilton Leithauser, I would like to believe that it’d be enough to shut even this guy up. But we temper our expectations, don’t we? And I didn’t expect to hear any Walkmen songs, so I wasn’t disappointed. I also didn’t expect to be blown away by a song from the bonus EP, “In Our Time,” which might now be one of my favorite Leithauser tunes.