When I was 22 I spent the summer living in a trailer in Lake Louise, Alberta. I went out there with my best bud Lena, but after 2 weeks, she went back to the luxury of home-made meals and air-conditioning while I tried to prove a point to myself by stickin’ it out.
Being alone forced me to make friends – and in Lake Louise, you never know what you’re going to find. Long story short, I ended up living with a girl who turned out to be a suicidal maniac – jumping in front of trains and paying for food with cherry pits. But when I think back to that time, I smile. Not because Laura, or Leah – whatever her name was – didn’t succeed in be-heading the local bartender with a giant can of pineapple, but because it brings me back to a time when a favourite album turned into a saving grace.
The Strokes first album Is This It is a Top 5 album for me. I remember hearing it and being excited about where music was headed. The songs weren’t emo-filled ballads of heartache – they were refreshing. So when Room On Fire was released in 2003 I had my dancing shoes ready. It smashed the rumour that they might be a one album wonder and propelled a movement of hipster mania.
Room On Fire was one of 3 albums I stuffed in my suitcase that summer just in case my MP3 player – that was the size of a large sandwich – happened to break. It did. 2 weeks in. That meant that it was Room On Fire that I would blare to drown out the sound of my crazy roommate chanting to the moon gods. I played it while I worked at the local deli and lent it to anyone who came in asking “Who is this?”
But this random tidbit about my love for the Strokes has led me to much more exciting news.
A couple of weeks ago my favourite bartender Billy told me that someone was going to guest DJ at my beloved hole in the wall Club Absinthe and that I would lose my mind when I found out. I must admit that I let out a little squeal when he unleashed his surprise on me. Albert Hammond Jr. of The Strokes was going to be spinning tracks at a place that I frequent on a regular basis.
The Strokes are a huge part of my – and almost everyone else’s – lives. These New York natives took the hearts of little hipsters everywhere and made it cool to dance again with jams like “New York City Cops” and “Last Nite”.
I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a part of that, but guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. didn’t stop at being part of such an influential band. He branched out with a solo album that I adored. Yours To Keep came out in 2006 but it’s tracks are still played in our house and at every cottage expedition. His cover of Guided By Voices “Postal Blowfish” and his own “In Transit” are favourites. He also released a second solo effort called Como Te Llama in 2008 that every music lover should have in their library. But, is he releasing some new material in 2011? Check his website (www.alberthammondjr.com) and see for yourself. That video makes me excited.
So, you can imagine Hamiltonians reactions when Albert decided to visit our small city. Local DJ AA and MC Uncle Buck got the crowd riled and ready to party and prepared us for the mayhem that would erupt when Albert hit the small DJ booth at Club Absinthe.
I couldn’t tell you the names of the tracks that he played, but I can tell you that I danced in the same spot for 2 hours – covered in sweat and beer – loving every minute of it. The whole club was going wild for this lanky genius who looked and acted like he could have been a regular patron – if it wasn’t for the swarm of fans following his every move. He was gracious and friendly and appreciated the love that was being thrown his way.
This crowd was partying like it was the end of the world – or the beginning of Disco/Punk season at Club Absinthe. Local photographer Luis Mora (www.luismora.allyou.net) captured the night in a series of incredible photos. Click HERE to join his Luis Mora Photobooth Facebook page and check out the shots from the night.
But I must leave you with a series of pictures that captured the essence of this night and gives a glimpse into the kind of party Hamilton knows how to throw. Make sure to note the long haired dude and guy in the purple shirt to the left. Also, the guy on crutches with hockey socks as padding. And the hillbilly with a missing tooth in the Jay’s hat.
A big thanks to Club Absinthe and Albert Hammond Jr. for reviving a love of music, dance and comradery in all of us that night and for making me remember Lisa, or Linda – whatever her name was – and how she will forevered be remembered everytime I blare The Strokes.
* If you are a member or manager of the above band and you would like your track removed, please contact us and we will swiftly oblige. Fans, new or old, please support these bands by using your coffee money to buy their records.