Albert Hammond Jr. at Varsity Theater, 11/14/13

Categories: Last Night
AHJ.jpg
Courtesy of Cult Records

Albert Hammond Jr.
Varsity Theater, Minneapolis
Thursday, November 14, 2013

On Thursday, Albert Hammond Jr. and his band were uniformly dressed in all black. Although his solo album is set apart from his work as the founding guitarist of the Strokes, he isn't out to separate his image as much as just be himself. He was accompanied by his same white Fender Stratocaster with red lightning bolt strap which he's known for playing in the Strokes.

Hammond Jr. is best known as a member of the New York garage rock band, and his solo work is not afraid to admit that, but his music gives off its own unique vibe.


The band warmed up with a couple of songs from Albert's first record Yours to Keep before diving into anything off the new self-initialed EP, AHJ. It's very clear that guitar is such a vital part to his songwriting as his band is made up of three guitarists, a bassist, and a drummer. This not only made for many harmonized guitar solos, but also assisted in covering the exact voicings for the cheerful horn medley at the end of "Hard to Live in the City."

While it's almost expected the Strokes' guitarist would waltz up on stage with a rock star attitude, Albert remained very humble. He turned his feet inward and rolled his eyes away from the crowd and up to the ceiling in during the first half of the set. He even forgot a couple of words in "Carnal Cruise," and brought a certain human quality. He just gave the audience a big grin continued on. He later warmed up to the stage and began to move around more, sheathing his guitar on his back as he grabbed the microphone. 

The veins in his neck protruded as he sneered the lyrics, "I'm not going to change 'til I want to" from "In Transit." Instead of a big shot smooth frontman, Hammond, Jr. came off as a guy that was genuinely excited to play and be a part of music. As the song ended, he let out a big breath and confessed that he "hadn't had that much fun on that song in a while."

Albert Hammond, Jr. treats his fans in a very personal way. He makes a point to respond and answer fans over Twitter and communicates with his audience in a very friendly manner. He had a lot to say between songs, including commenting on the Varsity's stage structure by musing "This is weird architecture. It's like the Twilight Zone" to which a fan shouts "Try going to the bathroom!" and the rest of the crowd laughs. Albert responds playfully by remarking "You don't think I go to the bathroom? I saw that!" 

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