When Walter Martin of the Walkmen took the stage before their set last night, I briefly buried my face in Josh’s chest. “Hamilton!” Then, I noticed his weird dark hair and the fact that no one else was reacting. Oh wait, not Hamilton.
I was so excited: a band that I have been completely obsessing over this year decided to come to Arizona in the same week as the release of their new album. I was even more excited when I found out it was in some tiny little club. They aren’t unheard of. There was no question. We were going to stupid Tempe. We were going to see The Walkmen.
There were two opening acts. A nice Canadian folkrocker named Dan Mangan. He had a catchy sing-along at the end of his set about how “Robots need love too”. I’m not one hundred percent sure that this is true. Every boy that I love is some form of a robot and I think that I love them because they don’t *need* it. I rolled my eyes during the sing-along, even when the guy was standing up on the bar. I went to talk to him after his set and said he didn’t seem like a robot. He kind of flirted with me and like, took my hand. Not a robot.
Second was Japandroids. They were awesome, but, by this time, I had decided we had to plant ourselves in the crowd so as to not be far from the stage when The Walkmen started. This meant no more gin and tonics because you couldn’t drink up front. Oh god was it hot. Why was it so goddamned hot? The smart guitar guy from Japandroids had a fan blowing on him the whole time. He seemed quite humbled to be on tour with The Walkmen. At the end of their set when they played their only song that I know, he dedicated it to them saying that “Bands like us don’t usually get taken on tour by bands like them”. It was charming. The song, “Young Hearts Spark Fire”, was in constant rotation in my car last year while my sister was dying of ovarian cancer. Its sweet refrain of “Oh, we used to dream/Now we worry about dying/I don’t want to worry about … dying/I just want to worry about those sunshine … girls” actually helped me. I thought about saying this to him when I saw him after the show, but I couldn’t. It seemed like a bummer. Instead, I brightly said “You guys were great!” Der.
So, The Walkmen set. All the little girl gushing and I screamed myself hoarse. They played all of the songs I wanted to hear. Maybe they didn’t play “Red Moon” and maybe I never have to hear “The Rat” or “Little House of Savages” again, but still. Hamilton can sing. I mean, really sing. It was a thousand degrees. Their drummer is a force of nature. I was expecting a watered down shitty set because of the heat and because they wear adorable clothes like dark jeans and button up shirts and loafers. They were amazing through and through. I was not once bored or disappointed. Really tight. Magical. Hamilton Leithauser is exactly as beautiful as I expected him to be. He is rail thin and solid muscle and he has impeccable timing. He’s cool, but not intimidating. I got over the fact that I was standing about seven feet away from him at some point and actually got to hop around to the music. It demands it. When he sang “New Country” alone with the guitar player as the first encore, he took my heart forever. It was beautiful.
(this youtube clip is from the actual show last night, thanks to the guy who uploaded it)
As much as I love Hamiton and he has replaced Greg Dulli as my indie rock boyfriend, a funny thing occurred during the course of the show. Walter Martin started to happen. He was the bass player on the newer songs and the keyboard on the older. When he was playing bass, he was right in front of us, but to the back of the stage. He looked like he was thinking smirky things. He was stylish and his face was just like Hamilton’s, but maybe dreamier? I kept looking at him. I liked his pants, I liked how when he was at the piano, he hung on it like he needed it for support. I liked his totally silent smart face. Walter Martin, I love your face.
When we were walking back to the hotel (we walked because we thought we would be drunk), I told Josh of my treachery. “I, um, think I like the bass player guy just as much as I like Hamilton.” “Oh God, Sarah, so fickle. He’s just a shorter version. I think it’s his cousin.”
Flurry of googling today after driving home revealed that Walter Martin is indeed Hamilton’s cousin. It also revealed, in the form of a Pitchfork list, that I am totally in love with the smirky things he is thinking. Please read the part about the card game or about Yellow Man. The Whoopi Goldberg radio show. His ringtone. Aww, shucks. I would totally marry him if we weren’t both already married to other people. Although his favorite song is Louie, Louie and mine is Woolly Bully, I’m sure we could make a go of it.