The Walkmen at Ogden Theatre, 01/21/13
Tom Murphy The Walkmen on stage last night at the Ogden Theatre in Denver.
Whether delivering mid-tempo songs like "In the New Year" or sprinting declarations like "The Love You Love" or "The Rat," the Walkmen never lost their urgency -- that is, once they found it, which, admittedly, took some time. "I was wondering if pot was legal here," Leithauser said, referring to the thick haze clouding up their spotlight like a 1950s movie projector. "I guess that answers that."
Now entering their thirteenth year, the Walkmen found their sound a long time ago and aren't interested in varying from it. And while it's a beautiful, enchanting sound, the similarities from song to song left you feeling grateful that the set was only slightly over an hour -- any more, and the lack of variation could have begun creeping toward tedium. As it was, the Walkmen delivered a timeless performance of style and momentum, but what else would you expect from a band whose name is both a reference to dated musical technology and the most basic descriptor of the most universal human action?
Personal Bias: "Canadian Girl," off the album You & Me, has been on every mix CD I've made since last summer -- and has been the inspiring soundtrack to a few crushes, as well.
Random Detail: Apparently hard drinkers with broken hearts really love the Walkmen, because every booze-loving, lovelorn person I know in Denver was at last night's show.
By the Way: At one point in my notes I described the Walkmen's sound as "extreme control with a playful center, like a young child surrounded by armed guards," and then suddenly realized my metaphor had entered the gun-control debate.