I don’t know how it was back in 2007 when they were slumming it in Brooklyn, playing weeknight gigs at Glasslands, but it was clear last night that the four boys of Vampire Weekend were there to strictly entertain—and I mean that as 90 percent compliment and maybe 10 percent insult. Against the backdrop of a floor-to-ceiling picture of their new album, Contra, they played, like well-oiled machines, a set consisting of almost all their recorded material. “Are you surprised we’re still onstage?” Ezra asked about an hour-and-half into it. “‘Cause we only have two albums.” Then he pasued. “Thank you for joining us on this odyssey… of growing up.” That last part is important. Despite the slightest sense that they were going through the motions here and there , there seemed to be mutual acknowledgement that this show was a Big Deal (asking prices on Craigslist reached $200; Bowery Presents made it will-call only to cut down on scalpers).
The band knew this. I’ve never seen bassist Chris Baio look like he was having so much fun, dancing in circles, doing this high-footed prance thing like a flamingo. The crowd—a mix of ages, devoted and sweaty—confirmed this. They danced to “A-Punk,” “Cousins,” “Mansard Roof” and show closer “Walcott” to the point where the floor of Webster Hall felt like a trampoline, forcing you into the air whether you were jumping or not. That's what happens when major rock stars play to a hometown crowd days after releasing an excellent new album, apparently.
Click through for some videos from the show.
Opener "White Sky":
"Taxi Cab," where an upright bass and drum machine made an appearance: