Wed Sep 24 2008
Photograph: JC Cancedda
Joe’s Pub; Mon 29
“The trouble with the bands today,” PT Walkley sings in “Mediocre,” from his forthcoming album Mr. Macy Wakes Alone, “is they’re all better than me.” The self-effacing singer goes on to extol the virtues of the Shins (for their carefully crafted melodies) and the Strokes (who “wrote a decent love song”), before voicing a sentiment that must fester in the minds of many underappreciated musicians: “Unless I die before my time, these songs of mine will go unheard—don’t they deserve better?” Wishing a premature death upon Walkley seems tacky, but he makes a valid point: His songs do beg for an audience.
In his short career, the New York musician has scored films, fronted the Blue Jackets and, last year, released a debut album as PT Walkley and the Adventures of Track Rabbit. Yet Mr. Macy feels like this artist’s true debutante ball: an ambitious work in the mold of a ’60s double LP, with recurring characters and musical themes. Walkley takes his biggest cues from the Kinks, giving their class obsession a Manhattan makeover in the record’s cast: Audrey Macy, an Astor Place brat who poisons her titular record-executive father to expedite the release of her trust fund, and an aspiring musician exploited by that same diabolical label man. The album is not due in stores until January—but tonight, armed with horns and a string quartet, Walkley performs Mr. Macy in its entirety, right in its characters’ backyard.