That’ll Be Enough For Tonight: 12.4.2013 The Walkmen
The Walkmen played their last show ever two nights ago. Hamilton tried to leave it more ambiguous with a gracious, “well, for a long time at least.” Pete told me he was going to set his piano on fire after the show (he didn’t, but the sentiment felt real enough).
I had never really considered them to be important to me, but as they geared up to play the last “Rat” ever, I was hit with a burst of the poignant, often heart-wrenching nostalgia that only music ever seems to inspire.
I remember being sixteen, driving my bright red Ford Focus around South Florida and belting along to that same song, so perfect for my own vocal register, so loud and so fierce and so vital.
At eighteen, a few months into my freshman year at Georgetown University, my friend Mark getting into their Black Cat show for free with a campus radio press pass and returning with stories from their trumpet player.
By twenty, I was working their first show at Union Transfer. Then I worked their second, complete with a spaghetti dinner promised by a drunken tweet and delivered upon with good natured amusement. Two nights ago I worked their third, and final.
I am twenty-two now. The Walkmen were thirteen, give or take a little. Next year only one of us will be getting older, and I have been trying to figure out why that thought unsettles me ever since I watched them walk offstage.
Music has a timelessness to it that we have all come to understand and embrace. I could play Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone now, in ten years, in twenty, and it would still be the same recording. It would - musically, at least - still sound the same. It doesn’t age.
The moment we are reminded of its tangible roots, however, we are abruptly faced with our own humanity and all that comes with it - mortality, fear, uncertainty. You can see Lou Reed perform until you can’t. You can hope for a Walkmen reunion forever without seeing it come to fruition. Musicians are people, and people are subject to the constrictions of time, driven by the knowledge of that truth.
When I asked Pete if he was on to bigger and better things, he laughed. “There’s a chance I’ll be living out of my van under a bridge within a month. But that’s exciting, I guess.”
What I’m trying to say, under everything else that I’m trying to say, is that I am going to miss The Walkmen in a way that I did not expect. Knowing them a little bit personally, I can say with certainty that I will miss working with them, as they are all truly talented, genuinely kind, very funny dudes.
But in a year’s time, right around the moment I should and will not be working another Walkmen show, I will miss the person I am right now. I will miss the moments spent working with my best friends at a job that I love but know I will eventually have to leave. Maybe I will even miss this specific uncertainty about the future, replaced by something new and possibly even more terrifying.
“This could be time for us,” Hamilton sings on my favorite Walkmen song, and I am inclined to agree.