Words by Bill San Antonio | Photo by Autumn De Wilde
For lack of a better phrase, Albert Hammond Jr. is all arms and legs. The Strokes guitarist-turned-frontman is tall and lean and full of the kind of energy onstage that you’d expect from a 6-year-old who’s had way too much candy. Dressed in a yellow Bad Brains t-shirt tucked into white jeans, and a striped, sparkly blazer he later removes, Hammond dances and shakes and jumps and paces the cramped stage at Trees in Dallas, Texas, a few shows into a co-headlining North American tour with Hinds. He’s only got so much room to operate up there. At one point, Hammond considers climbing the band’s rig and, I don’t know, leaping into the crowd? But it’s a bad idea and he knows it. He’s not Kurt Cobain, who famously (infamously?) bounced around Trees nearly 30 years before, and Hammond giggles. A few people in the crowd get the joke and giggle, too.
Ten days prior, Hammond released his fourth LP, Francis Trouble, which he’s said was inspired largely by his stillborn twin. At least he thinks it came out 10 days ago. It might have come out four months ago, he notes, but who knows? What day is it, Monday? Can rock bands play on Mondays? Is that allowed? Though half the set list is from the new record, thus relatively unfamiliar to the audience, the crowd matches Hammond’s energy on fan favorites like “GfC,” “In Transit,” and “Everybody Gets a Star,” that fill the latter part of the set. Most seem to know his closer, “Muted Beatings,” a single from Francis Trouble, and Hammond makes sure to sell the song’s final refrain, “I don’t care,” before the band cuts out and the lights return.
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