Albert Hammond Jr. Gets a Hiro’s Welcome

New York’s samurai den Hiro Ballroom at the Maritime Hotel held a party that Spin publisher Malcolm Campbell described as being the first official party for the 2008 MLB All-Star Game. The only indication of that were the sluggers flashing on a big screen, plus two dudes in the corner trading long balls on a Nintendo Wii home-run derby. People were there for one reason: to see Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. play songs from his new solo album, ¿Cómo Te Llama?. However, when Hammond finished his accomplished (if not Strokes-ish) set, the crowd didn’t seem all that into the idea of an encore.

After he left the stage, the lights remained dim (it was a party, after all) but the DJ stayed silent, giving the audience an opportunity to coax Hammond back on stage. What I heard were scattered claps — maybe twenty out of the several hundred people there — and a few awkward chants of “One more song! One more song!” Despite several attempts to get the crowd in the mood, each such attempt eventually faded to general, disinterested chatter. After about five minutes of nail-biting suspense — will he or won’t he! — the answer came with the sudden sound of John Lennon screaming “Twist and Shout.” The crowd, ever so jaded, did neither. So did Hammond’s plans for an encore dissipate due to lukewarm audience response? Or was the DJ just slow to the decks? Check back next week when we interview the man in question.
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