Review: Albert Hammond Jr. + Franz Ferdinand at the O2 Academy Newcastle

Albert Hammond Jr. has returned to the  Newcastle O2 academy in anticipation of the release of his new album, ‘Francis trouble’. He is probably best known as the rhythm guitarist for The Strokes he does however have a successful solo career. His first solo album ‘Yours To Keep’ was released in 2006 and has since been followed by two studio albums and an EP. The majority of the performance featured material from ‘Momentary Masters’ his most recent album, Hammond jr. also played some old singles such as “St Justice” as well as songs from his soon-to-be released album. If you are unfamiliar with the music of Albert Hammond Jr. I would say, as may be expected, that his sound is similar to that of The Strokes, especially the guitars.  In saying that, his solo music is definitely distinctive to that of his main band. The sound of The Strokes has previously been described as wiry;  Albert Hammond Jr. is smoother and less coarse in comparison, especially on tracks like “Born Slippy” from the most recent album.


Personally, I really enjoyed the performance. Though in a throng of several hundred people, few were particularly dancing to the music and compared to other gigs, the crowd seemed rather sedate. That isn’t to say that people didn’t seem to appreciate the music, songs such as “Born Slippy” and old single “St Justice” in particular, did seem to get the crowd moving. When compared to the main act of Franz Ferdinand, the energy of the crowd seemed rather subdued. This was likely due to the majority of people being there to see Franz Ferdinand rather than Albert Hammond Jr. themselves. This is to be expected, considering that Hammond jr. was the supporting act. Even during the main act though, the mood was hardly ‘crazy’, I guess it may have just been the nature of the crowd.

I guess the gig was a success

Despite even Albert himself admitting to being a “warm up” to the main act he still put on a good performance; trying to whip up the crowd with dramatic solos on his famous white fender Stratocaster. He kept the Strat on a stand next to him, donning it with theatrical effects during livelier songs such as the second song of the set, ‘Caught by my shadow’. The tracks memorable guitar riffs and dramatic lighting created an atmosphere that would have energised a more sympathetic audience. Despite a relative lack of energy, the crowd in general seemed to enjoy the performance, screaming and clapping after the songs even if they weren’t familiar enough with the music. From what I heard from those around me, at any rate they have definitely gained some new fans; so in that way I guess the gig was a success.


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