Friday, April 04, 2008

Vampire Weekend tearing it up at the T-Rock 4/3/08

Vampire Weekend in MinnepolisPicture 328Picture 321

Vampire Weekend w/YAHCT-Triple Rock Social Club (04.03.08)

There is always a certain amount of buzz anytime a band makes their first Minneapolis appearance. Whether it be The Srokes, The White Stripes, or, more recently, the Arctic Monkeys (just to name a few), the buzz precedes the band, and expectations are usually pretty high. And that was indeed the case with the sold out Triple Rock show for current media darlings Vampire Weekend. A lot has been written about this band, from their Spin magazine cover feature, proclaiming them the ‘Best New Band Of The Year’ already, even though it was only March, to the countless blogs hyping them as the new big thing-so much has been written, in fact, that the inevitable backlash had already started before the band even played a live show here. But enough about the hype, in the end it is always about the music.

And the four young (and I mean Young) lads from New York delivered, playing their incredibly catchy, ebullient debut album in it’s entirety, as well as a couple unreleased numbers. And, as was the case with The Strokes first couple shows here in the Entry, their set was only about 40 minutes in length. They played everything they had in their arsenal to an incredibly receptive packed house, no encore, winning over this reviewer early in the show when lead singer Ezra Koenig said that they spent their afternoon at the U’s campus, looking for where Bob Dylan lived in Dinkeytown (and also finding a road where he apparently skateboarded-haven’t heard that Dylan story before.) What it comes down to for me regarding live music, no matter what sort of hype precedes a band, is whether or not you can enjoy yourself when the band steps on stage. Does their music elevate the crowd, and leave those in attendance feeling uplifted in some way after the show? And last night VW certainly fulfilled on that promise, hype be damned.

Ezra’s guitar playing was surprisingly deft, and the keyboards were much higher in the mix than on the record, which really rounded out their sound quite nicely. Granted, their music isn’t too deep, lyrically, it’s rather lighthearted pop music made to get kids to dance (or, as Ezra instructed the audience later in the show before playing A-Punk-at least shaking your head from side to side when it’s too crowded to dance). And it’s always a good sign when a band can turn your least favorite song on the album (in this case, ‘One (Blake’s Got A New Face)’ into a energetic crowd sing-along. The band certainly appeared to be enjoying themselves during their set, feeding off the rapturous reception from the crowd, repeatedly mentioning how happy they were to be playing Minneapolis for the first time, and how they will be back soon-hopefully with a new batch of catchy songs that will stretch out their set a little more, and most certainly in a bigger room, as well, with demand for tickets to this show far exceeding supply. But before playing a storming version of ‘Walcott,’ the band introduced the song by saying it’s the last one they have, and with that, they were out-no encore. No ‘American Girl’ cover, which they ‘threatened’ to play a snippet of during the show. But all in all, a great show by four young guys enjoying the hell out of the ride-paying no attention to the hype, just playing music. And, hopefully, it’s the start of a long and fruitful run for these kids. And everyone in attendance last night hopefully saw the first in a long list of great shows the band plays here. Time will tell.

Erik T.

Another Review of the show at

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