Vampire Weekend at Bowery Ballroom: Backlash Is For People Who Care About Backlash

Last time I saw hometown heroes Vampire Weekend at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in September of 2007, the positive hype was high, uber Anonymous blog readers had already begun to revolt, and their album hadn’t even come out yet.

vampire weekend bowery ballroom

Fast forward to last Wednesday night, January 30th–the boys were back in town, playing the second night of their record release shows. The levels of backlash had multiplied 10-fold on every blog (including your mom’s)–I wasn’t even aware there could be backlash to the backlash of the backlash that was backlashed against. The crowd was Manhattanites, which automatically means that at least 10% of the audience will be uninterested in the music at any given time.

vampire weekend bowery ballroom

So how did the band do?

They seemed a bit more confident, a bit more commanding than the last time I saw them, despite the fact that the audience wasn’t nearly as crazed as the Williamsburg show. Lead singer Ezra stated after the first song, “that was better than last night.”

Any way you slice it, Vampire Weekend’s songs are upbeat, poppy, and very very catchy and very very enjoyable. Even though the crowd was a bit subdued, they were far from complacent, making the effort to bop up and down during songs like “Walcott” and “Campus.”

Unlike former “It” bands like The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys, when VW blast through their handful of known songs, many of which audience members knew from their EP, singles, and previous live shows, their set does not seem brief in any way. I think it has something to do with the varied sounds and pacing of their songs, which bodes well for their future.

Whereas The Strokes were lauded for their first album, Is This It, they were often panned for having songs that sounded similar–all fast-paced, straightforward rock songs. I don’t think anyone should accuse Vampire Weekend of being boring in their songwriting–yes, the lyrical content is quite preppy and white bread, but melodically their songs are more adventurous and interesting than some of the bands they have been compared to.

I continue to look forward to what they do in the future. Naysayers be damned, this kids just might make it.

vampire weekend bowery ballroom

the modern age shockwaves nme awards 2008

vampire weekend bowery ballroom

For more thoughts on the show head over to the Village Voice

3 Replies to “Vampire Weekend at Bowery Ballroom: Backlash Is For People Who Care About Backlash”

  1. Yeah, I’m very tired of pretencious, nasty, non-musician bloggers critiquing Vampire Weekend. The is NOT just white boys playing “thin music” as some asshole on the blogosphere labeled them. These are well crafted songs that are more original than a lot of indie acts have produced in a great while. Vampire Weekend’s buzz is well deserved and we can expect great things from them. They nay sayer’s have our leave to go brood in dark corners listening to Band of Horses and cut on themselves: stop your pretencious “have to say something negative or I’m not cool” bitching and quit your posing.

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