Walkmen bring indie-rock sound to OU's campus
Heather Brown, The Oklahoma Daily
They came a hell of a long way to be here, and they were thrilled, The Walkmen’s lead singer said Tuesday night outside of Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.
Celebrating a decade together this year, Hamilton Leithauser could have been implicitly referring to The Walkmen’s journey as a band, but nonetheless, OU students and the Norman community felt the same.
As the headliner, The Walkmen started about 15 minutes late following the Los Angeles-based opener, Milo Greene. The slight delay actually helped set the tone for both performances.
The Walkmen played a 13-song set list, the majority of which haled from “Heaven,” the band’s May release, including the album’s title track, and show opener, “Line By Line” and the crowd pleasing-ballad, “We Can’t Be Beat.” Co-created with Fleet Foxes’ producer Phil Ek, “Heaven” celebrates a more mature sound ten years in the making, according to the album’s online biography.
Low-key lighting from nearby street lamps and the museum grounds not only complemented The Walkmen’s simple East Coast style and heart-thumping, indie-rock sound but also created impressive shadows on the stage-framing archways of the adjacent OU School of Fine Arts. It made the quintet’s only Oklahoma leg of its tour both spiritually synonymous and architecturally urban.
The only disappointment of The Walkmen’s performance was the event’s unanticipated 9 p.m. curfew ending the concert and leaving the crowd demanding an encore.
Fresh off its first, self-titled debut, Milo Greene preceded The Walkmen and the sunset with a mellow vibe illustrated by grass-lounging hipsters and cozy couples parked on picnic blankets. Although this was Milo Greene’s first show in Oklahoma, the sunny and mid-70 degree weather felt like home, singer Robbie Arnett said to the crowd.
Far from the West Coast, the five members of Milo Greene established their aesthetic not only with pompadour hairstyles, black shades and crisply clad, pastel attire. Among the four male members, none of which are named Milo Greene was the ghostly yet powerful sound of Marlana Sheetz.
Milo Greene may have set a tranquil tone compared to The Walkmen, but with the closing track, “1957”, the crowd livened up and took the rhythmic anthem as a breath of fresh September air.
“We’ve definitely played a few college towns, and they seemed to be very receptive and enthusiastic, and they like merchandise,” Sheetz said with a laugh.
The two performances formed the latter half of the museum’s student preview party for its fall semester exhibition: The James T. Bialac Native American Art Collection.