Vampire Weekend Comerica Theatre Friday, September 27, 2013
Last night's show was just about everything a Friday night show should be: Vampire Weekend was on point and performed a great selection of songs that didn't neglect its debut album. The crowd was into it--if the majority of the seated area is on its feet, you know something is done right. And most of all--it was fun.
Vampire Weekend was energetic right off the bat, opening with "Cousins," which transitioned straight into "White Sky," a technique that was employed a few times. "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" was good for dancing, with the crowd echoing back the chorus.
All four members of the band were entertaining to watch, from singer/guitarist Ezra Koening's charm to bassist/back-up vocalist Chris Baio's cool dance moves. Drummer Chris Tomson effortlessly moved from drums to miscellaneous percussion below a large mirror that reflected the first few rows of the crowd.
The first Modern Vampires of the City track was "Diane Young," which was embraced just as well as a song like "A-Punk." The band's most recent album is well-received, if the audience's response to songs like "Ya Hey" is any evidence.
Ezra stuck to business and kept the stage banter to a minimum, which was great, given the band's hour and 15 minute set. He remarked that this is the largest crowd the band has performed in front of in Phoenix--which is true. (The last time Vampire Weekend was in town was at Marquee Theatre in support of Contra.)
I got fairly close to the stage for both shows, so I can't compare them all that well, but in my experience, Vampire Weekend draws a good crowd. Both times, I ended up dancing in a big group of strangers. The rest of the theater seemed to have the same idea--as the venue was illuminated during "Walcott," I turned around to see a sea of people at their feet. I turned back to see crowd surfers effortlessly float through the crowd. Koening warned that it was the band's last song, saying it was fitting since the song is about leaving.
"Horchata" and "Everlasting Arms" had a cool transition, united by booming percussion, prompting the crowd to clap. "Campus" and "Oxford Comma" also bleed together--with the bass of "Campus" abruptly slowing down to the catchy drums of "Oxford Comma."
The only issue was minor--a speaker cut out every now and then. It wasn't a matter of losing sound completely, it was more the sensation of having a headphone cut out and having the sound seem lopsided. But even when it cut out, the band still sounded great.
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Setlist: Cousins White Sky Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa Diane Young Unbelievers Holiday Step Horchata -Shots Everlasting Arms Fingerback California English A-Punk Ya Hey Don't Lie Campus Oxford Comma Giving Up the Gun Obvious Bicycle
Encore: Hannah Hunt Walcott
Critic's Notebook: Last Night: Vampire Weekend at Comerica Theatre. Personal Bias: I bought a floor ticket within five minutes of tickets going on sale--and it was a good call. The Crowd: Hipster kids and hipsters with kids. Random Notebook Dump: I can see why Vampire Weekend showed up on "Stuff White People Like." This crowd isn't very diverse.