Photo: Albert Hammond Jr.’s Facebook

Sauntering on stage to the wailings of Jim Morrison, you can almost see the flicker of disappointment on Albert Hammond Jr.’s face when he sees the size of his crowd. To be fair to him, it’s a cold and dreary Monday night in Portsmouth, but it’s nothing compared to 50,000 at Hyde Park this summer.

Hammond Jr. seems very comfortable at the front of the stage. The tracks off his most recent venture, Momentary Masters, translates well into his live show, ‘Born Slippy’ being the first of the night. The song bounces about the room as he coaxes more and more warmth out of the somewhat chilly crowd. It’s clear his band are just as skilled as he is, as the other two guitarists trade intricate riffs through the bridge, their instruments set to sound just like his.

The musician truly comes into his own when his vocals drop out and a guitar solo presents itself, which thankfully happens in almost every song. Flashbacks of The Strokes enter the mind when he writhes as if his Olympic White Fender Stratocaster is trying to jump out of his hands, his famous strumming technique only exposing itself once or twice.

However, his guitar playing does not overshadow his vocals, which don’t quite sound like they should belong to this almost six-foot figure clad in white. His voice pierces above the three guitars, bass and drums that make his set up; it certainly suits the erratic and boisterous attitude of his songs.

Surprisingly, towards the end of his set, he brings out ‘Spooky Couch’, an instrumental from his 2008 release ¿Cómo Te Llama?. It’s soothing, a little downtime from his usual hyperactive sound. Nevertheless, he finishes in true Hammond Jr. style with a romping encore, showing till the very end that he’s still one of the most lovable guitarists of his generation.

Maddy Hardman @PseudoAgatha

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