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Friday, May 25, 2007

Good Philippe

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2007 at 9:50 AM

Last Sunday Albert Hammond Jr. passed through town -- again -- and we were delighted to sample -- again -- his drafty summer love songs. It's nice to spend time looking at his big hair and windmilling forearm without being distracted by Julian pretending to be drunk. Hammond did spend a more than a few minutes talking about alcohol with an unnerving "Whoa!" enthusiasm, which was odd, but maybe he really was drunk. Anyway, that stuff makes people clap, so they did, and it was welcome, since applause wasn't happening nearly as much as we assumed it would.

But our eyes were increasingly drawn to the guitar player on Hammond's right, the guy with the wide-set eyes, corkscrew hair, huge mouth, and overall pugilistic mug who was crammed into proper Hammond-band attire (vest under the leather jacket). He looked every inch gritty '70s televised New York, like one of Bobby's friends on Taxi or a Buchanan High Sweathog in Welcome Back, Kotter. But it wasn't his clothes that drew us, or the way he moved about like a sparring boxer when the song called for it. It was his manners. That boy had them. He smiled and made eye contact with everyone he could, often allowing a jaunty flick of a very large set of eyebrows. It was earnest look, a look that said "Glad you made it out, friend" or "We're all having a pretty nice time, aren't we?" Or even, if you were stupid enough, "We're chatting after the show, right?"

It left us amused, grateful, and ultimately confused: Who the fuck was this guy? A weirdly long search starting at Hammond's MySpace solved the problem. He's Marc Philippe Eskenazi, touring guitarist for the Hammond band, former bass player for the Mooney Suzuki, and current member of Medium Cool (a NY band that opens for bigger NY bands). And he went to Harvard. Even better: He writes the Hammond tour blog, a rambling account that shows off his exceeding good nature. Lastly: He has only 249 friends, and we bet he's up for a few more. --Michael Leaverton

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Michael Leaverton

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