Sunday, 17 January 2010

Vampire Weekend @ The Hippodrome, Kingston - 14th January 2010

We've been waiting for forty minutes past the announced on-stage time of 11pm when a small doubt starts to surface in our minds, an unscratchable itch of a thought. My friend voices it - "What if its all a practical joke and they're not actually playing?" We laugh, but it almost seems plausable. Vampire Weekend have been riding high on a wave of anticipation for their second album 'Contra', even more eclectic than their self-titled debut while quickly pushing them from much-adored indie-darlings to being a huge, chart-topping behemoth of a band. Surely they would'nt be playing 'Little-Old Kingston'?

Thankfully though, after another ten minutes, they finally appear, amusingly to the tune of 'Let Me Clear My Throat' blaring over the P.A. Despite having apparently played two other shows that day(!) since getting off the plane, they still appear fresh-faced and genuinly ecstatic at the joyfully energetic reception we give them.

Bucking the trend of bands with new albums of only playing new album material, their set is actually a roughly 50/50 mix of recent album and first disc, with 'A-Punk' and 'Oxford Comma' getting some of the biggest cheers from the crowd. New single 'Cousins' is played with even more energy and break-neck speed than the recording, and 'White Sky', played early on in the set and featuring frontman Ezra's almost ridiculously high-pitched vocals also get great responses.

Theres a real tightness to the band, particularly the rhythm section, who hold down the african-pop inspired beats perfectly, while the guitars and keyboards flow yet stab where necessary. Record-only elements such as the string section in 'M79' are substituted nicely with keys and the only other noticeable differences in the songs are the speed they're played at! As with 'Cousins', the band play the songs quicker but no less smoother, showcasing the bands confidence in their skills musically and, most importantly, their songs.

Videos and photos from the night are on the Banquet Records page.

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