Any fans of The Strokes can recognize early on that Albert Hammond, Jr.‘s rhythm guitar was a heavy influence on driving the band’s distinct garage rock sound, so it’s great to see him have room to shine on his own. Since he last performed in New York City two years ago at Webster Hall, he’s back with another fantastic full album under his belt that showcase his evolved sound and personal growth.
After flawlessly belting “Cooker Ship” towards the beginning of the set, some sound issues with the bass allowed for a toned down, impromptu performance of “Blue Skies,” just Albert with his guitar (which wasn’t on the setlist).
Many of the new songs from Momentary Masters are far more energetic than his other work, so it was fun to see Albert and his band get into the groove of songs like “Touché” and “Caught By My Shadow.” It being my second time seeing him perform, I was happy to hear old favorites, like“Everyone Gets A Star” sounding just as beautiful as ever, and “Rocket,” a surprise at the end. And witnessing the entire crowd sing along, not missing a beat, to “In Transit” shows just how loyal his fans are.
As he’s known primarily for his guitar prowess, it’s easy to overlook that his voice packs some real power behind it as well. With the backup band doing most of the guitar work, his vocals take center stage, and he impresses the crowd with a great range and the facial expressions to match.
That isn’t to say, however, that his guitar skills don’t shine as well. The crowd stilled for the instrumental “Spooky Couch,” an old favorite from his second album, which highlighted his incredible showmanship and attention to detail. Another detail important to note was the fantastic light design, red to counter the band’s all black outfits, which is all done by his wife, Justyna.
And he couldn’t have thought of a better way to close out the show: after the encore, he takes a letter from a fan in the front row. When it doesn’t fit in his vest pocket, he shoves it right down the front of his pants, and walks off the stage like nothing happened.