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Yesterday at NX35: The Walkmen at Hailey's Club

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Band: The Walkmen
Venue: Haileys
Time: 11:25 p.m.

The buzz was loud and the venue packed last night in anticipation for one of the bigger bands taking part in this year's version of NX35: New York City's The Walkmen.

Since I got to Hailey's early, I happened to catch a couple members of the band milling about outside the club before its show. Seems Hamilton Leithauser and crew will be in Dallas today to do some recordings with John Congleton.

That being the case, the guys in The Walkmen were anxious to get this NX35 gig out of the way. "The club told us we'd go on at 11, but then they told us they are always late," said keyboardist Peter Bauer with a frown. With that meeting in mind, I wasn't expecting the same great show I got from The Walkmen last year in Dallas.

But after fairly stellar sets from the other three acts on the bill, brooding frontman Leithauser and the rest of the Walkmen hit the stage just prior to midnight. As the band started its set in the dark, the singer seemed to have to wake the soundman out of a stooper to let him know the band was ready to begin. But once The Walkmen did begin, it was great to be amongst Denton's sweaty throng. Starting off with "On the Water" from the band's great 2008 release You & Me, The Walkmen held the stage with the same defiant arrogance and snotty power that results in the band's albums being so good to begin with.

After the band's fourth song, the exuberant crowd finally even got to the gloomy Leithauser, who smiled widely and introduced a couple of new songs that the band, presumable would be recording with Congleton today. The new numbers went over well--but not as much as fan favorites such as "In the New Year."

In the end, the sound wasn't that good, the song selection not that great and the band still seemed a bit rushed to get the whole thing out of the way. But The Walkmen's music is so good--its mix of Dylan, Velvet Underground and U2 so intriguing--that having any chance to catch the band is a good excuse to venture out and make it home far too late for a father of two like me.

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