Even the most devout fans of The Strokes couldn't deny the amount of energy in the room at White Oak Music Hall last night when Albert Hammond Jr, guitarist for the band, stopped by to support his latest solo record Francis Trouble. Hammond Jr burned through his set of old and new songs proving that he's just as solid a front man as a rhythm guitarist, keeping things fun and light from start to finish.
The Madrid-based Hinds band started it off for the evening. The four-piece, known for their heavy touring schedule, danced onto the stage before grabbing their instruments and delivering a pretty solid set of songs both new and old in their first Houston appearance.
The band opened with a new song, "The Club" from their new album I Don't Run out in April. They alternated between old and new work keeping up the pace for the entire set, playing the new song "New For You," then returning to fan favorite "Garden" from their first record. There was plenty of interaction with the crowd including exchanges with fans in Spanish.
As Hammond Jr opened with the fevered pace of "Caught By My Shadow" from the 2015 album Momentary Masters, the audience went into a frenzy as he bopped around the stage before grabbing his guitar. Hammond headed back to 2006 for the song "Holiday" from his debut solo effort. After proclaiming “Wow, Houston really is better than Dallas," he launched into a new song, "Set To Attack."
By the time he went into the snappy sounds of "Carnal Cruise" from AHJ, it seemed as if the guitarist could do no wrong. Singing with emotion and playing with the energy of the youth, this was definitely Hammond's night. Even on the new song "Harder, Harder, Harder," the crowd was right there with Hammond as he and his backing band played like they had nothing to lose, while keeping things tight and on point. This continued into "Rude Customer," where the energy was kept as high as it gets, and everything seemed to just click.
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He dropped in nuggets like "Strangers," and "Side Boob," while getting slower and staying melodic with "St. Justice." He kept the set lively with new songs that work well live such as "Far Away Truths," went deep with "101" and toed the line with the new song"DvsL," the set felt very curated in a way that would delight anyone in attendance. Even with a slow gem like "GfC," Hammond held the audience before closing with "In Transit."
He started his encore with the gnarled guitars of "Postal Blowfish," before heading into the calmer sounds of "Everyone Gets A Star," the show stayed on track while never feeling formulaic. Even with the closing tracks, the chill vibes of "Rocky's Late Night" worked before Hammond closed the evening with "Muted Beatings."
In a little over the hour and ten minute mark that included a pretty hefty encore, the singer songwriter and guitar wiz proved that he's more than just the guitarist in The Strokes while keeping those in attendance happy from start to finish. The power of an actual performer who knows how to craft a set that wouldn't let down even the casual observer, is something that doesn't happen much anymore in the rock world. However, last night at White Oak Music Hall, Albert Hammond Jr proved there are still a few who can do it with ease.