Live Review: Albert Hammond Jr at SWG3

When thinking of Albert Hammond Jr, it’s natural to immediately think of that rather well-known band for whom he plays the guitar with. The Strokes are arguably one of the largest indie rock bands of the past couple of decades. Yet, Hammond Jr’s solo career is by no means overshadowed by this. Hammond Jr has enjoyed his own, well deserved, success, with four highly praised albums. The latest of which, Francis Trouble released earlier this year, showcases Hammond Jr’s consistently improving songwriting capabilities.

It was rather quiet upon entering SWG3, as suitable support band Yassassin were playing their last couple of tracks. The sparse crowd was an eclectic mix of styles and haircuts, which perfectly represented various generations of gig-goers. Regardless, everyone in attendance looked ready for the headliner as Yassassin left the Stage. The shiny gold disco suit in which Hammond Jr bounded on to the stage donning, accurately conveyed his energy, yet was the complete antithesis to the extremely mellow crowd. As Glasgow crowds go, it was poor form – apart from the group at the front representing the younger demographic, who bounced around and sang along to every song and even chanted “Albert, Albert, Albert f*****g Hammond” a few times throughout the night.

The performance ramped up during ‘Tea for Two’ and ‘Far Away Truths’, with Hammond Jr jumping up and acrobatically dangling from the roof. Later, Albert displayed some of his more heartfelt and reflective songwriting in ‘Rocky’s Late Night’ and ‘St. Justice’. This was shortly followed by launching into some more energetic tracks like ‘In Transit’, where Hammond Jr dived into the crowd and willingly-or-not acquired kisses whilst saying hello to, and dancing with, some of the more energetic members of the audience.

The tracks played from his latest album actually supplied most of the standout moments during the gig, which is not all that common in a music world plagued by ‘second album syndrome’. Hammond Jr’s excitement and energy throughout the whole set was infectious and justified at the quality of his songwriting. Ultimately I left feeling he deserved a larger audience, as artist and band’s performance fully warranted it.

By Anthony Florida-James