Vampire Weekend makes amends for canceled Marymoor show
Vampire Weekend was professional, sincere and enthusiastic at Seattle's Paramount Theatre on Sept. 22. They play another show — with rising Seattle talent The Head and the Heart — on Sept. 23.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Vampire WeekendSet list, Sept. 22, 2010, The Paramount Theatre, Seattle
Vampire Weekend plays again at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 911 Pine St., Seattle; $36.50 (877-784-4849 or www.stgpresents.org).
Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa
I Stand Corrected
One (Blake's Got a New Face)
I'm Going Down
Giving Up the Gun
The Kids Don't Stand a Chance
Concert Review |
There were things seen and heard at last night's Vampire Weekend concert at the Paramount endemic to the New York quartet's unique musical ecosystem.
The soundtrack, of course: 90 minutes of bubbly indie-pop with vague Third World undertones played by four of the most talented Abercrombie & Fitch models ever to go Ivy League. Also lead singer Ezra Koenig's lyrics, which rhyme vague Third World and Ivy League terminology ("horchata/balaclava," "Louis Vuitton/sweater on"), written and sung by an actual Columbia University grad. A mostly high-school-age crowd singing along, bouncing in place, bathed by the Paramount's loud, impeccably clear sound system. A graying, goateed superfan yelling "Columbia!" in between songs as if at a pep rally or alumni social.
These are signifiers of one of the biggest indie bands in the world, whose second album on XL, "Contra," debuted in January at No. 1 and who continue to be judged for a silver-spoon back story that is mostly fiction. While critics wring hands and indier-than-thou backlash chases its own tail, the kids are bowled over, "Cousins" and "Giving Up the Gun" are played on 107.7 The End, and Vampire Weekend, in concert, demonstrate exactly how enjoyable their music is.
From note one of "Holiday" to final encore "Walcott," the band was professional, sincere and enthusiastic, playing songs from "Contra" and their self-titled '08 debut and an up-tempo, mid-set rendition of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm Goin' Down."
Maybe the nature of the concert — the first of two in a row making up for a last-minute cancellation at Marymoor in late August — contributed to the band's commitment. Koenig, whose inflamed vocal chords were the cause of the cancellation, sounded refined and politely chirpy in voice. His guitar was nimble and understated, its twinkly syncopation complemented by thick synth melodies from keyboardist/producer Rostam Batmanglij. Songs like "Diplomat's Son," "California English" and "Giving Up the Gun" boasted massive basslines and churning dancehall-lite rhythms, the latter especially whumping.
During "M79," five crystal chandeliers descended from the rafters above the stage, and a massive text-mandala backdrop was illuminated in neon bursts. Smoke, strobes and spotlights added rock 'n' roll flash, necessary given the overriding civility of the music. Koenig convinced the reserved crowd to sing along assorted whoops and ahs. "I know it's a Wednesday but use your weekend voice," he said before "One (Blake's Got a New Face)." The second half of the show was especially audience involved — a girl with a "GO ON!" sign jumped onstage to dance during "Giving Up the Gun."
"We couldn't ask for anything more than for you to give us another chance," Koenig said at the end of the set. "Next time we're in Seattle we won't give you the runaround."
The goateed Columbia guy shouted back, "You're forgiven!"
Local folk-pop openers The Head and the Heart played a superb set on the biggest stage of their career. Look for them to be headlining the same stage this time next year.
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.