Vampire Weekend are truly an amazing and unique band. Why you ask? For one, they reside in the miniscule section of popularity where they’re not quite overexposed but still familiar enough to hear their distinct sound and immediately recognize them. Drawing from countless influences, their music has been placed on several soundtracks but they have never let it go to their head.
After a less than stellar performance from Sky Ferriera, (MY FAVE! Who announced the following day she had to postpone shows to be put on vocal rest, which could also explain her performance – I’ll give you a pass on this one Sky!) the opening guitar riff from “Cousins” sounded the crowd roar and forced the audience to rise from their concrete seats.
Lead singer Ezra Koenig mastered his machine gun spit fire delivery so well I could have sworn he was lip syncing on the impossibly quick “California English.” He wasn’t. The entire band worked incredibly well together. Bass guitar player Chris Baio’s extremely fancy footwork countered drummer Chris Tomson’s boisterous drumming, as he skipped back and forth across the stage during tongue in cheek hit “Diane Young”. Although, I couldn’t help take my focus from keyboard player/backing vocalist extraordinaire Rostram Batmanglij. He gave me an “all powerful wizard” vibe, seemingly running everything from behind the metaphoric curtain. It took a second, but after some careful listening I heard Batmanglij’s vocals meld instantly with Koenig’s providing a brilliant subtle harmony I wasn’t previously aware of.
The band really stretched through their discography during the warm September night, performing older tracks like winter anthem “Horchata” and quirky “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” while bringing new light to recent material, “Unbelievers” and “Ya Hey.” Their spunky debut single “A-Punk” sounded just as fresh as the first time I heard it. Taking advantage of a mostly college age audience, “Oxford Comma” and “Campus” were very well received at the open air venue.
It wasn’t all aggressive, happy go lucky though. “Obvious Bicycle” lent a solemn vibe to the audience, winding them down with a hypnotic pogo stick back-beat before exploding again on stage for the encore and leaving song “Walcott.”
Vampire Weekend’s music is a rare breed, incorporating electronic, indie, reggae, latin, punk, rock and pop music for an incredibly dynamic sound of their own. Go see them, buy their music and watch their videos! You can hear some Vampire Weekend in a few of our core programs such as: The Circuit and College Rock. Modern Vampires of the City is out now via XL.
– Submitted by Tristan Bolden, Music Design