Live Review

Vampire Weekend, Kingston Hippodrome

Closing on the up-lifting piano heavy ‘Walcott’, it’s been a compelling night.

Kingston Upon Thames: a quaint suburban London town west of the centre of the city. Not much happens here; you’ve got the University, the college and a respectable town centre. Why then would band of the moment Vampire Weekend even consider coming down to play the Hippodrome, a quasar looking club just off the centre of this student based settlement? To play the well respected New Slang club night put on by local record store Banquet Records, of course.

Word spreads around the club that the band won’t be on ‘til 11 o’clock… various pieces of press to do, a show outside playing to bewildered ice skaters and a radio session all in one day. A show that could easily have sold out ten-times over, we finally get our men just shy of 11.45pm, to a fanfare of DJ Kool’s ‘Let Me Clear My Throat’ that leads to the sombre tones of ‘White Sky’s subtle keyboard nature.

Security start standing on various bars and the merchandise desk with the stances of President Obama’s henchmen to make sure the rowdy crowd are on their best behaviour. A high-spirited Ezra and co. seem to be enjoying the special club show - surely these guys haven’t played a venue the size of the Hippodrome since the release of their critically acclaimed self-titled album back in 2008? Conversing in an incredibly self confident way to the never ending sea of heads, they stroll into the never ending bass-line of recent come-back single ‘Cousins’ to a cheer not far from the one we later hear for the TV-montage-loving ‘A-Punk’. When the first note of that riff is hit, intoxicated strangers link arm-in-arm and bellow out at the top of their lungs the next notes via the medium of drunken chanting.

Despite a few surprises on the way (the inclusion of mid-tracklisted debut cuts ‘I Stand Corrected’ and ‘Campus’), there’s very little from new album ‘Contra’. Closing on the up-lifting piano heavy ‘Walcott’, it’s been a compelling night.

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