Vampire Weekend made their UK return last night, headlining End of the Road for their first show on these shores in over four years. Emerging on stage to Peter Gabriel’s ‘Solsbury Hill’ (which the band later cover during ‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’, though admitting that the festival isn’t actually that close to the titular sight - they Google mapped it), they launched straight into ‘Holiday’ from 2010’s ‘Contra’.
Before playing ‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’, Ezra Koenig responded to one of many questions yelled out from the crowd regarding the band’s long-awaited fourth album. “The album’s done,” he confirmed. “But we’re gonna talk about that after the show,” he continued while difficulties with a keyboard on stage were being rectified. “Oh you want a little more info?” he joked. “What else can we say about the album? Oh, turns out the keyboard’s ready…”
Expanding their live line-up to a seven piece, including a second drummer, a new riff-happy guitarist and more, the band’s live presence felt amped up, even though songs from their three studio albums were largely played true to their recorded form. They did drop in a cover of SBTRKT’s Ezra-featuring smash ‘NEW DORP. NEW YORK.’ though, which proved a wonderfully funky mid-set shot in the arm.
“This is the calmest festival crowd ever,” Ezra commented after an encore break following the suitably well-received likes of ‘A-Punk’ and ‘Oxford Comma’. “We don’t wanna make a big deal out of it but this is our first time playing in the UK since Reading & Leeds 2014 - the next time we come to the UK, a lot of new songs. And they’re good, too! We can’t wait to come back.”
No new songs were played - and Ezra joked that “normally you play a festival and you save all the big songs ’til the end, but Vampire Weekend doesn’t do that. We don’t play ‘A-Punk’ last” before launching into ‘Ottoman’. He then responded to a sign in the crowd from fans asking to come and sing on stage with the band for signature set closer ‘Walcott’, and they helped them smash through a glorious set closer, and confirm that Vampire Weekend are well and truly back.
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