It’s been almost ten years since anyone’s seen The Walkmen.

The indie rock darlings – once famously a seminal part of New York City’s heavy contribution to the “post-punk revival” scene of the early aughts – have emerged from an extended hiatus to appear at Union Transfer, the very same venue from which they last said goodnight to Philly fans back in December of 2013.

There’s no new record, or single, or even so much as a distant promise, at this point. No, Hamilton Leithauser and co. just properly clocked Philly’s appetite for not one but three consecutive Walkmen reunion shows this week, all nearly sold to capacity.

Brimming with a natural charisma, Leithauser gave off an easy comfort, nodding on several occasions to the band’s connections to Philly and the time they spent here, and engaging fans with short vignettes between songs, as he escorted them on a tour of a generous setlist that leaned as much on their well-loved first two records as it did on 2008’s You & Me, with just a few select tracks from the rest of their catalog peppered in.

It felt intimate, a little like a VH1-Storytellers type of thing, a feeling that might come as little surprise for a band whose lineup has been the same since their 2002 inception, and whose friendships stretch back even further, to a shared childhood in Washington DC: five musicians who commit in equal amounts to a signature sound that’s now every bit as good live as it was in their early days.

And for Leithauser’s part – despite lamentations early in the set about mild nebulous ailment he might have contracted ingesting seawater during a recent ill-advised dip in Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay – his vocals sounded almost as strong as ever, as the frontman reached in his Dylanesque howl for upper-deck notes throughout the evening, all the way through to set closer: their early hit “We’ve Been Had.” A signature song of post-millennial indie rock stood pitched against the perfect, syncopated dance between Pete Bauer’s swaying bassline and Paul Maroon’s haunting piano.

The Walkmen return to Union Transfer for two more shows: tonight, and Thursday May 4th. Check out pictures from night one of their run below.

The Walkmen
Union Transfer
  • What’s In It For Me
  • On The Water
  • In The New Year
  • The Rat
  • No Christmas While I’m Talking
  • Little House Of Savages
  • The Blizzard Of ‘96
  • New Year’s Eve
  • Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone
  • Juveniles
  • Blue As Your Blood
  • Four Provinces
  • Donde Esta La Playa
  • Angela Surf City
  • Wake Up
  • All Hands And The Cook
  • Heaven
  • Thinking Of A Dream I Had
  • Red Moon
  • We’ve Been Had
The Walkmen - We've Been Had (Live At Union Transfer 5/2/2023)