LIVE: The Walkmen and Milo Greene at the Ford Amphitheatre (9/12/12)
By Bailey Pennick on September 14, 2012
The Walkmen, Milo Greene
Los Angeles, September 12, 2012
Let’s face it; Los Angeles is oversaturated with concert venues. You can’t turn down a street without hearing the unbridled energy and excitement of a live show being performed…or at least you can’t escape the inevitable and insufferable traffic jams and stacked parking nightmares surrounding their very existence. This is why we, as Angelinos, are very particular about where we choose to see live music: we have unlimited choices and we aren’t afraid to pick favorites. We are spoiled, and we should be proud of that.
On Wednesday night, there was no better place to see the New York rock band The Walkmen along with LA’s own indie-folk darlings Milo Greene than at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre. Hearing the gorgeous harmonies and meticulously polished melodies of the SoCal quintet radiate throughout the open spaces of the Ford was so delightful that a family of deer passed behind the band during their set; it set the rest of the night up perfectly. This venue is an always transforming acoustic space ready for anyone to embrace it.
When it was finally time for The Walkmen, led masterfully by Hamilton Leithauser, to begin their show, there was no backdrop put up or intricate light show installed; we were going to be treated to an evening with just the band and their music.
The five-piece did not disappoint, filling the space of the relatively large yet intimate venue of just over 1,000 seats with their innovative and driving sound. From the very beginning of the hour-and-a-half show, The Walkmen commanded the room as they jumped right into a powerful set full of recent hits and deeper tracks picked mostly from their last three albums: You & Me, Libson and this past spring’s Heaven.
The relaxed nature of the Ford with its almost unheard of seated general admission and “secret cove”-like atmosphere brought the playfulness out in the band, which was especially nice to see in contrast to their exceptionally grand soundscape. When a helicopter interrupted Leithauser as he was about to start another song, he took the opportunity to poke fun at the neighboring Hollywood Bowl’s headliner playing across the 101 Freeway. “There goes Dave Matthews, you guys!” He and the giggling audience knew that there was no place we’d rather be.
Welcoming a horn section to play on a few numbers with flourish—including “Red Moon” and “Louisiana”—the group showed off their exceptional tightness, thriving off of the audience’s energy without losing any technical precision. Even in the most excitable moments, like when they finally played “We’ve Been Had” off of their 2002 debut album Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone, Leithauser and company beautifully controlled the vibe of the crowd, helping each of us follow them on a musical journey under the barely visible stars and the glowing cross of the Hollywood hills. F