Walkmen Excite Loins More Than Ears at Show

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Photo: Diana Sabreen

With their flat-front pants, rigid posture, and neat haircuts, the members of the Walkmen looked not unlike a band of i-bankers jamming on their lunch hour last night at Bowery Ballroom. Despite the hometown crowd, the strong reviews for their new album, You & Me, and it being their second sold-out show in as many nights, the mood wasn’t exactly celebratory. Respectful? Yes. Appreciative? Probably. But rock-show raucous? Definitely not. Front man Hamilton Leithauser gave it a valiant effort — we waited with anticipation to see if the continental map of sweat stains on his pressed button-down would meet in the middle, but alas, it was not to be. On their seldom played song “The Rat,” he even seemed to pointedly scream the lyrics: “Can’t you hear me? / I’m calling out your name.” But the audience stayed mellow. From our perch just to the left of the balcony bar, the crowd below looked like a sea of tranquilized bobbleheads, nodding politely in time to the music, feet planted firmly. Some, however, were connecting to something — if not to the songs, then at least to each other. Amid a parade of moony hand-holding couples filing out after the encore, we overheard a dude waxing nostalgic to his man-friend: “I once got to go home with a girl 'cause she told me I looked like the lead singer of the Walkmen.” Aw…