LIVE: The Walkmen in Tel Aviv
By Ross Belfer on August 15, 2012
Live at The Barby Club (Tel Aviv, Israel)
August 14, 2012
“First time here,” muttered Peter Bauer, guitarist and keyboardist for The Walkmen, while nonchalantly smoking a cigarette last night outside of Tel Aviv’s The Barby Club. “Headed to Jerusalem tomorrow and then hopefully to the West Bank,” he added.
It was clear that The Walkmen’s first ever performance in Israel was well-intended and deliberate. The band took the stage last night with the mindset to deliver a compact, energetic performance to fans who have craved their arrival for quite some time. The crowd of several hundred concertgoers fervently sang along to every tune off the band’s recently released studio album, Heaven. Opening the set was a triad of new and newish tracks, including “Line by Line,” “Angela Surf City,” “Nightingales,” and “The Love You Love.”
The band progressed through with an onslaught of their more angst-driver older tracks, including “Woe is Me,” “We Can’t Be Beat,” “The Rat” and “The New Year.”
Midway through the set, lead singer Hamilton Leithauser commented on the band’s touristic activities from earlier in that afternoon: “We walked to Jaffa earlier today… no one told us how HOT it was going to be.” Jeering and applauding, the crowd formed one giant smile, showing just how truly excited they were to host a band as acclaimed (and relevant) as The Walkmen.
The Walkmen’s careful blend of fast and slow, melancholic and uplifting songs made for one of Tel Aviv’s best music performances of the summer. An older tune, “Thinking of A Dream I Had,” offered perspective into the daily life in urban America of “Waiting on a subway line / Waiting for a train to arrive,” and further establishing a bridge between Israelis and the rest of the world, even for just a brief moment in time.