posted on October 24, 2008 04:17
Vampire Weekend (live in The Ambassador Theatre, Dublin)
Review Snapshot: Living up to and, indeed, surpassing their Oxegen appearance, Vampire Weekend are a fun band with multitude of good songs. It's just a pity they're all so short.
The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10
Is it still cool to like Vampire Weekend or has the backlash started yet? That seemed to be the question on most people’s lips last night as a packed Ambassador Theatre waited in nervous anticipation for New York’s finest purveyors of ‘Upper West Side Soweto.’ The answer to that question would have to wait though, at least until after New Amusement finished their support set.
I really wasn’t sure what to make of New Amusement last night. Undoubtedly they write some catchy songs and the majority of their set consisted of songs from their excellent mini-album Any Port in a Storm. However, singer Brian Molloy was plagued by tuning issues last night and at times it was painful to listen to. Only when he wasn’t singing did New Amusement sound like the band that had impressed me so much at this years Hard Working Class Heroes Festival. I can only assume the tuning problems were because he couldn’t hear himself sing and it’s a pity the sound engineer appeared to do nothing about it. Still, this is a band that has a great deal of potential and I’m sure they’ll take this appearance as a lesson learned.
So, is it still cool to like Vampire Weekend? The answer is that it doesn’t really matter. They’re a bit like Barak Obama; you don’t know why you like them, you just do. Having blown me away with their Oxegen performance I expected a fast paced set and Ezra Koenig and company definitely delivered. Opening with the foot-stomping trilogy of Mansard Roof, Campus and Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa they soon had almost every member of the audience, consisting mostly of students with too many scarves, hanging on their every note.
What a shame then that they decided to slow everything down with two new songs and the pedestrian paced I Stand Corrected and Bryn. Sensing he was losing the audience somewhat, Koenig announced that we were now entering the second part of the show and, to deafening screams, launched full throttle into the bands second single, A-Punk. This also marked the start of the sing-a-long part of the gig, something that Vampire Weekend may have welcomed but, then again, they didn’t have to listen to the girl in front of me who sounded more in pain than in tune, especially during One (Blake’s got a new Face). They wrapped up the set with faster-than-the-speed-of-light versions of M79, The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance and the hugely popular Oxford Comma. Who knew so many people were keen on grammar?
40 minutes into their set, and with a good deal of between song banter, Vampire Weekend had amazingly raced through 12 songs. What’s the rush? I could understand if it was a band with a huge volume of songs in their back catalogue but they’d already played 10 songs from their 11 track debut album. They’re going to struggle with their encore I thought to myself. I was wrong.
I’m not sure if I should admit this, but I was named after Stevie Nicks. Yes, the girl. Ergo, any cover of a Fleetwood Mac song will get my attention, especially if that song is Everywhere. This was, put simply, one of the best cover versions I’ve ever heard. I may have even sung along falsetto. Though to describe it as singing would be akin to describing an unkempt patch of grass as the pitch in Old Trafford. The night was wrapped up quite nicely with Walcott (Leaving Cape Cod) and, barely 55 minutes after starting, Vampire Weekend were finished.
This is the most fun I’ve had at a gig in a long time. I couldn’t help but enjoy myself. So good were Vampire Weekend that I could forgive the fact that the drums were too loud and that Ezra Koenig’s mic seemed to fade out at the start of every song. When you’re enjoying yourself this much and the music is this good, it’s very hard to care. Roll on album number two.
Photo Credit: Beezeebeebee