Albert Hammond Jr. Takes Center Stage at The Bowery Ballroom

September 22nd, 2015

Albert Hammond Jr. – The Bowery Ballroom – September 21, 2015

In his tenure as a member of the Strokes, Albert Hammond, Jr. has always been a reliable sight onstage—standing off to the side, a curly mop of hair bent over his guitar. However, performing at a sold-out Bowery Ballroom last night in support of his third solo release, Momentary Masters, he seemed to enjoy distancing himself a bit from his Strokes persona. Confidently standing center stage, Hammond began with “Rude Customer,” singing with a sense of urgency befitting the song’s driving tempo. Perhaps most shockingly, his fingers didn’t even graze his guitar strings until halfway through the next number, “Cooker Ship,” leaving the heavy lifting to his skilled band. It became clear very early on during last night’s show that Albert Hammond Jr. is enjoying the freedom of being center stage.

Of course, Hammond’s Strokes connection cannot be fully forgotten, for many of his songs (“Back to the 101,“Touché,” “Razor’s Edge”) contain the band’s signature melodic, catchy core, although perhaps with a bit less of the Strokes’ snarl and a bit more range and complexity. He also enjoys veering into a more retro, poppy sound, particularly on numbers like “Born Slippy” and “Losing Touch.” Over the course of the night, Hammond seemed to enjoy stretching his showmanship muscles as a lead singer while still taking the time to impress us with his distinctive guitar style—and the best moments managed to highlight a bit of both. —Alena Kastin | @AlenaK

(Albert Hammond Jr. plays The Bowery Ballroom again tonight.)