The Workman’s Club is humming tonight. Hamilton Leithauser has a fan base with more than a few diehards in their ranks and considering he has only visited these shores on a handful occasions, they have good reason to be excited. Coming off the back of his excellent ‘I Had a Dream That You Were Mine’, there’s rarely been a better time to see him.
The band kick things off with a stomping rendition of ‘Sick as a Dog’. If Leithauser misses recent partner-in-crime Rostam in the live setting, you wouldn’t guess it judging by the racket conjured up by his tight three-piece band. By the time he reaches the song’s climax, plenty in the venue are hollering his words back at him.
Tonight’s gig contains no gristle. Clocking in at just over an hour and ten minutes, there’s not a moment to check your phone or contemplate the gradual encroachment of Monday morning. Leithauser and his band rip through their recent album as well as a pair of highlights from Leithauser’s first solo record with overt confidence.
This Dublin date is the final night of what had been a lengthy tour for the band and Leithauser seems in jovial form, occasionally pausing between songs to share anecdotes, such as the backstory to ‘The Bride’s Father’ and his doomed attempts to locate a gym amongst Dublin’s endless bar options. This relaxed atmosphere doesn’t extend to the songs however and as soon as the first chord has been sounded, Leithauser appears lost in the music, his voice always rising above the swell of his band.
It’s only when the plucked Spanish guitar figure of ‘In A Blackout’ begins that a hush to fall, as though the whole room has sucked in a breath simultaneously and it isn’t until the full band kicks in that anyone appears to exhale. Despite Rostam’s absence, his presence still looms over proceedings thanks to his contributions to the duo’s excellent 2016 record. ‘When the Truth is…’ in particular could have nestled quite comfortably into the Vampire Weekend songbook.
As far as rock vocalists go, there are few singers who can go howl for howl with Leithauser. He shows off his full range tonight from the impassioned ‘The Morning Star’ to the delicate sweetness of closer ‘1959’, which lulls the crowd into the night.
It has sometimes been said that Leithauser’s previous band were underappreciated during their time, but judging from tonight’s show there is no shortage of believers. As he says himself, he uses the same voice he always has, and the crowd tonight wouldn’t have it any other way.