Harking back to 2008, Vampire Weekend's self-titled debut album struck a chord with the masses and produced several feel-good hits, most notably ‘A-Punk’ and ‘Oxford Comma’. Follow up ‘Contra’ also proved to be a success, and met much critical acclaim.
The Troxy is a smaller venue than some may be used to seeing Vampire Weekend in, but this should have no bearing on the performance of a band that was never founded with stadium-sized shows in mind.
The band opens with fan favourite ‘Cousins’. It’s a tentative start, and they almost come across as slightly nervous. Similarly, on ‘White Sky’ the band is fairly static and seem disinterested.
‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’ and ‘I Stand Corrected’ represent breakthroughs: the first pieces of brilliance of the night, getting the stalls-set attendees on their feet for the first time. But new songs ‘Step’ and ‘Diane Young’ should not really have been played back to back - the atmosphere changes noticeably during the 'Modern Vampires Of The City' material.
But the band continues to sound excellent, and there are no prizes for guessing which songs are the biggest crowd-pleasers of the night. Before kicking into ‘A-Punk’, Koenig says: "We don't have to give you much instruction, just do what you want for this one." The crowd switches from excitable to manic whilst the vocalist remains cool and unphased.
'Oxford Comma' arrives off the back of an excellent transition from ‘Campus’, and remains an excellent merging of twee pop, reggae and youthful buoyancy.
After a four-song encore of ‘Obvious Bicycle’, ‘Diplomat’s Son’, ‘One’ and ‘Walcott’, Vampire Weekend leave the stage to staggering applause. But while tonight has been a success, there is definitely some rustiness that needs shaking off. Great bands never rest on their laurels, even if they've written a song like ‘A-Punk’.
Words: Bill Williams
Photos: Rosie Wadey
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