REVIEW: Albert Hammond, Jr. w/ Day Wave & Reno Bo | 9.30.15 @ Exit/In

AlbertHammondJr-620

Albert Hammond, Jr.
w/ Day Wave, Reno Bo
Exit/In; Nashville, TN
September 30, 2015

Review by Meagan Whitney. 

When Albert Hammond Jr. released his latest album this year, it had been seven years since his last solo effort. After a stint in rehab, among other significant life changes, and working on music with The Strokes, Hammond’s touring band started working on reinterpreting his older songs and eventually recorded an EP. He was so excited about how it turned out that he decided to test out the incarnation of the band he’d been touring with and work on a new album. The result, Momentary Masters, is something that looks at life through different angles, always seeing the joy in triumph, but aware that the feeling doesn’t always last. The band’s show at Exit/In last week made it evident why Hammond was so excited to record with this group. Their take on his earlier solo material brought something new to the music, and didn’t leave you wanting to hear the recorded versions instead. Opening the show were Hammond’s former bass player, Reno Bo, and poppy, indie rock band Day Wave. Read on for our thoughts!

Local rocker Reno Bo’s music is nostalgic. While his songs might be new, they make you feel like you might have heard them somewhere before, in the sense that they have a classic, timeless feel. They could have been written in 1977, or 2003, or last week. Live, he and his band keep audiences moving. It’s impossible not to tap your toes and dance along. His sound slants toward being similar to bands he’s been in, including his time as Hammond’s bass player and with The Mooney Suzuki, both of whom have retro sounds all their own. His ‘70s power pop made for a catchy opener for Hammond and we hope to keep hearing more from him.

Day Wave’s debut EP, Headcase, has been getting play on satellite radio and garnering attention from musicians like Mark Hoppus and Andrew McMahon and there’s good reason. The songs were all written by Jackson Phillips, but a full band that he tours with really fills the songs out and gives them depth. Phillips was influenced by both ‘60s surf rock and bands like Joy Division, an interesting pairing that’s evidenced in his sound. Interestingly, the crowd at Exit/In seemed to be made up of a much younger audience than just curious Strokes-turned-Hammond fans, and seemed to be evidence of a new group of kids discovering and really taking to Hammond’s sound. But it can’t be overlooked that lots of them were dancing and pushing their way to the front to hear Day Wave play. Though everyone may not have known them going into the show, they kept the night moving and really got the audience ready to hear Hammond.

Reno Bo and Day Wave made for good openers, but the night was really about Albert Hammond, Jr. From the time he took the stage, Hammond was the star of the show, grasping the microphone in his fist like every song was going to be the most important one of his life, he held nothing back, putting all of his energy into the performance. Between songs he engaged in some banter with the audience, whipped out a crude made-up anecdote or two, and generally kept the mood light and fun.

His band quickly made it obvious why Hammond was so keen to record an album with them. They took songs like “Everyone Gets a Star,” from his 2006 album Yours to Keep, and turned them into full band songs that took them to the next level. Instead of being left wishing you could have heard the album version, they left you wishing the album version sounded more like the live version (or at least that there was somewhere to hear the live version again). Recording Momentary Masters with his touring band was a great move for Hammond. Now he’s on the road with a band that not only helped craft the songs and know them well, but he’s got a band that can make magic with his old songs. Albert’s show at Exit/In was the best of both worlds.

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