On Tuesday the 16th, Adelaide’s The Gov was graced with the first ever headline tour by the legendary Albert Hammond Jr. The incredible artist has spent most of his musical career as a singer, songwriter and guitarist with New York City’s rock giants, The Strokes. Hammond Jr. perused his solo career with his 2006 debut album, Yours To Keep and then followed it up in 2008 with ¿Cómo Te Llama?. He then returned in 2015 to release his third album, Momentary Masters which features some of his best work. Supporting Hammond Jr. was Perth surf punk band, Gunns, who just released their debut EP, She’s A Rainbow.
Considering everything going on in Adelaide, it was no surprise that it was quite a small crowd at The Gov on a Tuesday during the Fringe. The young Perth four-piece, Gunns, jumped on stage and opened with a track filled with scuzzy, cruisy guitar riffs and energetic, heavy percussion. The set was filled with moody, grunge hits with guitars inspired by California surf-rock, sounding similar to the likes of FIDLAR and Best Coast. Unfortunately, what began as a promising set, seemed to be quite lacking with mumbled vocals overshadowed by the energy coming from the electronic guitars and drums. The band closed with their track, The Fool, but despite the impressive, tight instrumentals, Gunns lacked stage presence and found it difficult to draw the crowd in.
Just before Hammond Jr came on stage, the room went completely dark with only dark red lights showing, whilst You Cannot Petition The Lord With Prayer by The Doors played. By this time, The Gov was about the quarter of the way full but despite this the volume of screams coming from dedicated fans was enough to rival a completely packed venue. As soon as he came on stage, dressed completely in white except for his red socks, you could immediately tell you were in the presence of one of the greats. The levels of energy was incredible. He played tracks off his latest record, Momentary Masters, like Losing Touch and Touché, which gave him the opportunity to show off his catchy, melodic hooks whilst gracefully and viciously shredding the guitar. The audience went absolutely wild for tracks 101 and In Transit, off his debut album, and GFC off his second album.
The running joke of the night was whenever Hammond Jr would try and speak or interact with the crowd, his live band would instantly jump into the next song, making whatever Hammond Jr was saying redundant. Highlights of his set was his seven minute wonder, Spooky Wonder, which is an instrumental slow-burner with hints of post-rock, which really shows off Hammond Jr.’s precision and detail and the simplicity of the drummer playing with just his hands. They also played my personal favourite track, St. Justice, which really cemented how much I was in awe of the set. The live band left the stage with the whole room yelling for an encore, with Hammond Jr coming back on stage to sheepishly say, ‘brought the gang back together.’ They belted through three more tracks before closing the set with a crazy jam filled with powerful, ferocious shredding and heavy percussion.
All together, the night was really enjoyable with an amazing set from Hammond Jr for his first headline tour that was greatly appreciated by all who attended.
Header image via the artist