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.
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"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.