Tonight’s performance is shaped more by what is left out than what
can be shoehorned in.
Stripped bare of studio production and their signature afrobeat/baroque
accoutrements, Vampire Weeken the Ivy League quartet put forward a simpler live offering – guitars, keys and drums,
Vampire Weeken with nary a bongo nor a harpsichord in sight.
They waste no time breaking out the new material as ‘Contra’’s ‘White Sky’
makes a bouncy if not bombastic opener.
The first big crowd surge, though, arrives with ‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’. More reserved is the reaction to the incessant tubthumping of ‘I Stand Corrected’, Vampire Weeken as a quick/slow flow is revealed to tonight’s set.
‘Contra’’s ‘A-Punk’ (lead single ‘Cousins’) then proves to lack the immediacy of the band’s previous hits, Vampire Weeken although makes up for it with impressive, full-pelt kitchen-sink bedlam.
The same can’t be said for the following brace of new tracks, causing a midset lull,
despite eschewing their studio intricacies in favour of a more rugged energy as a fuzzy bass is put higher and dirtier in the mix, and it speaks volumes that some of ‘Contra’’s
stronger yet more heavily produced tracks are absent from tonight’s set list.
But while the new material offers little progression from the old, those
indefatigable indie pop hooks still form the crux of Vampire Weekend’s sound,
and though this particular gig is a much more meat and potatoes affair, it’s a fine serving all the same.
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