Photography by: Barak Goodman
Hamilton Leithauser moved a sold out room to tears with his performance at Star Theater Friday night. Touring off his fantastic 2016 album I Had A Dream That You Were Mine ft. Rostam of Vampire Weekend, Leithauser’s remarkable music isn’t anything new to those who’ve been following him for the past 20 years. Whether people showed up as super fans of The Walkmen or his current solo career, they were all there knowing that they were about to experience someone whose brought inspiration to their life.
These fans erupted as Leithauser entered the stage and smiled towards them. As the music began, he crooned, swayed, and strummed his acoustic guitar to every heartfelt song he performed. Opening with “You Ain’t That Young Kid,” he immediately grabbed everyone’s attention with his renowned, raspy voice and picked up the crowd’s feet with the song’s upbeat energy. This would be a one of only a few moments of dancing as the album is primarily filled with slower tracks but it was clear the audience only needed him and his music to enjoy the show. Following his opening track was “Sick as a Dog” which brought in a loud audience participation during the chorus with no one able to reach his triumphant pitch.
His songs filled the room with feelings of nostalgia through the 1950s doo-wop inspired “Rough Going (I Won’t Let Up) and “When The Truth Is…” and his 1960s Bob Dylan-esque “Peaceful Morning” and “The Morning Stars.”
Between each song, Leithauser was personable, lovable, and spoke to the crowd with humor. Before going into “The Bride’s Dad,” he told an endearing background story of when he was at a wedding the bride’s dad started to sing.and he was overcome with emotion. But, when he looked up, everyone around him was aching for the dad to finish his performance.
The night had an extra emotional layer to it as it had been the same night of Donald Trump’s inauguration. Hours before the show, illegal protests were being held just blocks away from the venue. Leithauser acknowledged the day’s events and mentioned his participation in the protest. He had hoped he could bring some form of relief for everyone in the room that night and there was a genuine sense that he did. He closed the show with the album’s closer “1959,” a melodious completion of sentimental night of music.