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Albert Hammond Jr - SWG3 - 12/09/18

"Strokes guitarist returns for thrilling show at SWG3."


Review by Graham McCusker
Posted on 2018-09-15 23:24:45
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With The Strokes on something of an intermittent hiatus, and frontman Julian Casablancas’ other project The Voidz making largely unlistenable noise, lead guitarist Albert Hammond Jr has inarguably forged the most successful solo career of the legendary New York five-piece. His latest record ‘Francis Trouble’, released in March of this year, sounds more like his day job than he ever has, with his signature, unmistakable riffs lining a rapid-fire collection of short, sharp indie-rock.

He returns to Glasgow to headline for the first time since 2015 to play at SWG3’s cavernous warehouse, which is far more aesthetically akin to the venues The Strokes frequented when they were on the cusp of superstardom. The stage is even too small for his backdrop, which is instead draped behind the merch desk.

Walking on to Jim Morrison of The Doors howling “you cannot petition the lord with prayer!” from ‘The Soft Parade’, Hammond wastes no time launching into ‘Dvsl’, with Hammond stalking the stage, going through a call-and-response with his band. Within three songs, he is offstage and in with the packed crowd, who are relishing being up close with one of their heroes. After an atmospheric ‘St. Justice’, the Strokes-esque riffs of ‘Far Away Truths’ make it an early highlight, evidence by how well it is lapped up by this evening’s audience.

All the material from ‘Francis Trouble’ goes down a treat this evening, but it is the old favourites that provoke frenzy amongst the New Yorkers adoring fans. ‘Holiday’ gets the Glaswegian crowd pogoing fervently, and an excellent ‘In Transit’ incites a mass chant of “Albert! Albert! Albert fucking Hammond!”

Hammond is an engaging frontman, and he covers every inch of the stage tonight, even swinging from the roof more than once. There are few occasions where the frontman picks up his unmistakable white Fender Stratocaster, with him instead electing to use this opportunity to fully embrace the frontman role while he can, and it is is band that take the brunt of the work. Luckily, they are more than able, and on the main set closer, a tinnitus-inducing ‘ScreaMER’, they go full pelt with the two lead guitarists exchanging riffs and solos freely, with a thundering rhythm section powering along.

It is a blistering set from Albert Hammond Jr and his band tonight. It may be approaching twenty years since that unforgettable intro to ‘Last Nite’ started soundtracking indie discos worldwide, but it is clear that he still has a talent for writing classic hooks, as well as being a more than able frontman in his own right.

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