My first impression of Vampire Weekend: These dudes are young. Like, really young. They could stop shaving for the entirety of their tour and they’d still look like baby faced college kids.
My second impression of Vampire Weekend: These dudes are good. Like, really, really good. It’s like seeing The Police for $8, not $80, in a room that a room that holds a couple hundred and not 20,000. All of those other comparisons people make to Vampire Weekend — Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, David Byrne, are pretty spot on, too. They weave world sounds effortlessly and intelligently into their music, and there’s nothing to “get.” If you spend too much time trying to “get it,” you’ll forget that this music is meant to move you. At one point last night, vocalist Ezra Koenig introduced the bouncy, ska flavored number “A-Punk,” by saying, “Not too be pushy, but this one’s pretty good to move to…If you’re into that type of thing.” His cajoling got a couple people to shake it, and a few more to bounce a bit, but the crowd didn’t really move until Vampire Weekend closed their short set with “Oxford Comma” and “Mansard Roof,” left the stage, and made it back to the merch table where the VW t-shirts started flying. I’m sure the tunes would have gone briskly, too, if they hadn’t sold out before they even got to Cleveland.
My third impression of Vampire Weekend: I didn’t particularly care for Yacht or The Dirty Projectors. Yacht, is probably one of the nicest, most sincere people you’ll ever meet at an indie show. If I needed someone to watch my cats when I’m out of town, I’d call him. I just wouldn’t buy his cds. The Dirty Projectors didn’t do much for me either. I was curious to hear their new album, the one where they reinvent Black Flag, but after a few songs, I decided to call it a night.
On my way out I saw VW’s keyboard player, Rostam Batmanglij, outside the Tavern smoking a cigarette, and stopped and told him I enjoyed their set. We had a curious exchange where he asked me about the Dirty Projectors. I reluctantly said, “Don’t hold it against me man, but they’re really not my thing. They’re all impressive musicians, that guitar work we’re hearing right now, that’s amazing, but they really do nothing for me” To this Batmanglij replied, “I am going to hold it against you, they’re like my favorite band ever. What don’t you like about them? Dave (Longstreath) is always five, ten years ahead of his time.” We went back and forth for a while, it wasn’t a nasty debate, or anything like that, he just couldn’t believe that The Dirty Projectors could drive me out of the bar. I didn’t take up his suggestion to pick up their album on my way home. Instead, I got in my car and put in the new one from Prinzhorn Dance School. Oh well, looks like I won’t be receiving any gift baskets full of fresh fruit from Vampire Weekend any time soon.
Vampire Weekend – Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa [download]