Friday, October 16

Vampire Weekend @KCLSU

. Friday, October 16

Originally on

It’s fitting that Vampire Weekend have decided to road test their new material at KCLSU being that they are a band indebted to halls of academia and the gentle collegiate swing of life. As the band take to the stage however the difference between the Wes Anderson-Rushmore State side education you imagine these four boys had and the lairy beer in a plastic cup students Britain have is markedly noticeable. Somehow though rowdiness suits Vampire Weekend and older songs like ‘One’ and ‘Campus’ certainly benefit from a healthy injection of crowd participation although the circle pit during ‘Oxford Comma’ is perhaps a bit much- nobody gives that little of a fuck.

The chance to see a band like Vampire Weekend, whose star has ascended so high so quickly, is always a treat but to do so in such a small venue is particularly enticing. The club atmosphere clashes somewhat with the genteel aesthetic of the band as displayed by the sweat turning bassist Chris Baio’s band trademark pastel blue shirt a much darker colour but the small group gathered here are essentially a focus group for new material. Striking the key balance between playing new songs and old Ezra Koenig and co do not milk the forthcoming album ‘Contra’ but they give a good four or five songs their débuts including the blog favourite ‘Horchata’ and ‘White Sky’ which was first aired last year. The former of those two is an eccentric ode to a Mexican drink tonight performed intimately with multi instrumentalist Rotstam Batmanglij sitting on the stage to play keyboard whilst Koenig claimed the band had been 'dying' to perform the song though he was losing his voice. Elsewhere the new songs sound louder and more dense (no doubt a trick learnt from touring the first album worldwide) and are accompanied by a new-found sense of escapism. It’s easy to dismiss Vampire Weekend as preppy rich kids but what they do on songs like set highlight ‘Mansard Roof’ and new song ‘Holiday’, a Summer anthem in waiting focused on running away with a girl, is document the minutiae of life in intricate detail. Just because it’s a life you and I maybe can’t relate to doesn’t make the observations any less astute.

Some moments of the show feel flat though, as if the band haven’t been away long enough for some songs to have become interesting again (‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’ we’re looking at you) and as mentioned seeing people go crazy for songs about topics as unemotional as English grammar and the shape of Upper East Side roofing is an intriguing thing to try and understand. However people get off on Vampire Weekend because they write breezy pop songs you can’t help but sing along to and not even a broken guitar string can stop the indie disco hit ‘A-Punk’ being the best of these tonight. As a taught and lean 45 minute set leaves the crowd sated but longing for more you wouldn’t bet against ‘Contra’ being one of the best albums of 2010 already.


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