Live Review

Vampire Weekend, Troxy, London

Vampire Weekend mix up the hits and give a glimpse of just how big the rest of 2013 could be for the New Yorkers.

Looking around the Troxy tonight, one hopes the choice of venue is stylistically deliberate. There’s an odd reflection in the faded glamour of this 1930s art deco theatre from the imagery surrounding ‘Modern Vampires Of The City’: the album’s cover showing a smoggy Manhattan skyline, the iconic Chrysler building making appearances in both promo photos and videos.

Yet as perfect visually as London could offer, it also provides the night’s main flaw: it’s just too quiet. Even with earplugs removed, there are points during the set where bar drums and vocals, the conversation going on behind is louder than the music in front.

This is the first chance, bar a handful of TV and radio appearances, for most of the audience to hear any of the new record. So, while opener ‘Cousins’ is greeted by screams and accompanied by full-scale singalong, it’s when ‘Diane Young’, the album’s lead single, kicks in that the set steps up.

On record, ‘Modern Vampires Of The City’ is more mature and less frivolous than its predecessors; references to college campuses and parties are switched for constant references to growing up. Live, it’s even more pronounced: the new songs are beefier, fuller in sound. Vampire Weekend’s metaphorical balls have dropped.

‘Diane Young’ is already this summer’s festival anthem, and frontman Ezra Koenig appears to know so; the crowd’s subsequent applause met with a distinctly Elvis-like “thank you very much”, a nod to the song’s vocal theatrics. ‘Unbelievers’ gets a clapalong from the outset as the band deftly segue from ‘Holiday’ without pause.

‘Step’ is more soulful than even its recorded version, ‘Everlasting Arms’ sounds massive, ‘Obvious Bicycle’, saved for the encore has people pogo-ing to the sound of (we think) a pogo stick, and – undoubtedly the finest track on the new record – ‘Ya Hey’ – has more than a few singing along with the chorus the first time many have heard it.

There are, of course, time for the oldies – ‘A-Punk’ is unsurprisingly the one that has the floor shaking, ‘Oxford Comma’ almost as much. ‘One (Blake’s Got A New Face)’, saved for the encore, makes the entire room look like a giant party, such as the whole room’s dancing, gleefully.

It could’ve been louder. But there are probably very few who leave east London disappointed, as Vampire Weekend mix up the hits and give a glimpse of just how big the rest of 2013 could be for the New Yorkers.

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