High-energy performances mark free Walkmen concert

Monday, October 30, 2006

“I can’t believe this is free” was a sentiment voiced several times in Alumnae Hall Friday night, where students were treated to an enticing performance of folk music by The Wrong Reasons as well as a selection of bravura indie-rock songs from The Walkmen. The event, which included opportunities for audience participation that thoroughly engaged those in attendance, was hosted by the Brown Concert Agency and was open to the Brown and Rhode Island School of Design communities.

Whether they were intently listening or freely dancing, concert attendees were treated to two stellar performances.

“Providing Brown students the opportunity to hear new and exciting music on campus,” including groups like The Walkmen, is BCA’s mission, according to Chair Joe Posner ’07, noting that the agency plans to host similar events in the future.

Though Providence-based The Wrong Reasons was a last-minute addition to the bill, the local group’s distinctive folk sound entertained the crowd and was warmly received. “We were pleased with them,” Posner said.

Some attendees were so inspired by the group’s classic folk songs that they line-danced on the floor of Alumnae Hall.

After the set from The Wrong Reasons, The Walkmen received a thunderous reception from the throngs of primed and excited concertgoers. Led by the evocative Bob Dylan-eque vocals of singer Hamilton Leithauser and the compelling rhythms of drummer Matt Barrick, the group delighted the audience with hits “We’ve Been Had,” “The Rat” and “Little House of Savages.”

The band’s collection of warm ballads and rock struck an effective balance between the soothing and the provocative. Indeed, the group’s set was an interesting blend of the strutting theatrics of a rock concert and the introspective moodiness of a poetry reading – on steroids. The band’s rendition of their rhythmically pleasing song “Louisiana” was particularly stirring.

Elliot Colbert ’09 and Josh Waitzman ’07 had the opportunity to play as The Walkmen’s horn section during a segment of the set. “I love the idea of encouraging students to participate onstage with the bands,” Posner said, adding that interactivity in on-campus concerts is one of BCA’s new goals.

The BCA’s next show will be on Nov. 16 when it, the College Hill Independent and Brown Student Radio present folk-pop outfit Beirut in Leung Gallery. Tickets for that event will cost $5.

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