Here at the Blogothèque we have a drawer full of hidden treasures, little bits and bobs that we accumulate and never quite find the time to share. Not because we don’t want to, but because sometimes it’s hard to find the time and means. In this drawer resides The Walkmen, a group who have released a handful of quality albums. And with the release of their new album approaching, we thought it was about time we did something with the footage.
It was a little over a year and a half ago now, in a bourgeois apartment on boulevard Magenta, complete with beautiful ceiling mouldings and a view of the Eiffel tower on the horizon. It was cold, and we would end the evening by warming ourselves up with whisky. The Walkmen, by pure chance, were today celebrating their tenth anniversary. The joy of coincidence.
At one point, it was as if they weren’t completely with us; one of them suffering from migraine, the others, jetlag. However, little by little, things started to take shape. Hamilton sang, gazing at the ceiling. He was caught between the almost religious attention of the fans sitting just in front of him, and the squeals of the excited girls behind him, letting no silence fall. To be perfectly honest, this is probably what makes The Walkmen who they are – the relentlessness that creates moments of beauty in the tension, despite the issues, the screams.
In this film, their short performance consisted of just five songs. Three of them are from You & Me, their 2008 album. The acoustic Donde Esta La Playa, the brassless Red Moon, and the raw New Country… a great variety of songs, catapulted by the voice of Hamilton Leithauser. Nicely slotted in the middle of the set was a rare little piece from an EP in 2002.
The last song was yet untitled, and it was the first time it had been played in public. In our dear host’s apartment that night, they had a portrait of Leonard Cohen barefoot on a Californian beach. We had therefore asked the band if they felt like covering The Old Revolution. They did better than that. For the song Blue As Your Blood, it was almost as if the old Canadian as leant them his words, or as though they had taken his energy. As though he had reminded them of a time when passion was more important than elegance. So there you go, in this film you will see the ardor of things, without apologies, without manners, dispersing into their air the way it should do.
Photo by Antoine Doyen