I had been semi-boycotting going to any CMJ shows this year because after going to Iceland Airwaves (which I still have yet to finished writing about), I had my fill of concert-going to last me a few months. So you can imagine how un-excited I was to break that streak when I found out that Albert Hammond Jr. (guitarist for The Strokes) would be doing a warm-up show to his solo UK tour at Mercury Lounge here in NYC on Friday night.
Although I hated to break my boycott, I figured I wouldn’t be allowed to continue to have a website called “The Modern Age” if I didn’t head out to the show.
Surprisingly enough, Mercury was running pretty much on time, so Albert hit the stage with
“101” “In Transit” around 12 midnight to a packed house–sprinkled with the usual suspects like bandmates Julian Casablancas and Nikolai Fraiture, girlfriend Catherine Pierce, Steve Aoki, and Adam Green all on hand to support him. The crowd was really enthusiastic, and upbeat. Albert and his backing band sounded pretty good, his blend of Beatles/ Beach Boys/ The Jam-influenced music rang true and you could tell how serious and heartfelt Albert felt about being able to perform his solo music.
After his 30-minute set was over the vibe reminded me that of the early years of The Strokes. Albert was packing up his own gear and talking to kids standing at the front of the stage. The other band members hung back by the bar, talking, chatting, and saying hello to old friends.
You can catch him next weekend at Maxwell’s.