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Vampire Weekend played Webster Hall

January 19, 2010

Vampire Weekend 1

I’ve never been a real Vampire Weekend fan.  It’s not that I dislike the band, I just can’t get excited about them.  My lady loves them though, so when I saw they were playing a block from our place, I took her out.  We had seen them before, once at a Witness benefit at Roseland and once at last summer’s All Points West. I always kind of feel neutral after seeing them and last night (1/18) was no different.  It was mostly 3-minute pop-ditties, with high-pitched guitar licks and sharp vocals leading the way.  They did bring out a string quartet sporadically throughout the show, three violins and a cello.  While it definitely made for a fuller sound on ‘M79’ early on in the set, their sound was non-existent the rest of the night, disappointing.

It took a full change of course to provide a winning song.  For ‘Taxi Cab’ (from their new album Contra) the drummer (who was great all night) set up a drum machine at the front of the stage, the keyboardist went to a seated keyboard set to a fragile-piano sound and the bassist played a stand-up bass with a bow. The high-pitch of Ezra Koenig’s guitar and vocals was absent, opting for a more mellow sound…easily the best tune of the night. That set-up was then abandoned the rest of the set.

I was definitely in the minority with my views on this show though.  The crowd was enthusiastic all night.  They were younger than most crowds I see at shows.  They sang along during several songs and screamed after many of them.  They bopped around when the band announced that it was time to dance and they responded when the band told them it was time for crowd participation. Sigh.

Sidenote: I ran into Peter Silberman and Darby Cicci of The Antlers in the balcony.  I found it odd that a band with such a polar opposite sound/vibe would be fans.

Stream ‘Taxi Cab’ below.  A couple more pics after the jump.  The band played United Palace Sunday night and plays Bowery Ballroom tonight (1/19).  All three shows sold out.

Vampire Weekend – Taxi Cab

Vampire Weekend 2

Alternate set up during Taxi Cab.

Vampire Weekend 3

During encore. Note the silent string section to the left.

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