Review: Vampire Weekend @ Webster Hall

After opening with a pair songs off their new record, the familiar guitar lick of Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa received one of the biggest cheers of the night, as Koenig attacked the microphone delivering the sing-a-long chorus with an eerie similarity to David Byrne. After a solid take on I Stand Corrected the band was joined by a string section, that would amble on and off the stage throughout the course of the night, for M79 – their ode to riding a cross-town bus that cuts through Central Park; which was followed by the auto-tune assisted California English that was played at break neck speed.

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As they reached the “schvitz” portion of the show, as Koenig described it, he reminded the crowd that they had a new album out – which the very next day would debut at number one on the Billboard charts – that featured “that blond back there” referring to the large face on the backdrop that vapidly gazed at everyone, before imploring everyone to bounce up and down to the reggae-infused A-Punk.

Referencing their show from the night before, at the much larger United Palace, the chatty lead singer got everyone on board with assisting them on the chorus of One (Blake’s Got A New Face) with a practice dry run, before attempting it during the “wet” run. The island-flavored Diplomat’s Son, a song that features an MIA sample, fell a bit flat, but Chris Tomson’s propulsive drumming on Giving Up The Gun arguably the band’s most straightforward rock sounding song brought the energy back before closing out their set with the seamless segue of two older favorites Campus -> Oxford Comma.

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Returning to the stage for an extended encore, Koenig joked that they had played almost every song they knew before their take on Horchata. If there is anything that comes close to a Vampire Weekend rarity it came in the way their next song – Ottoman – a tune that was featured on soundtrack for Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist and cribs the chorus from Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa. After some boisterous  shouting and requests for it the band closed out the show fittingly with Walcott – a song about returning home that seemed apropos on this night for a band that will now spend the next three months on a lengthy world tour.

2010-01-18 – Webster Hall – New York, NY

White Sky, Holiday, Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa, I Stand Corrected, M79, California English, Cousins, Taxi Cab, Run, A-Punk, One (Blake’s Got A New Face), The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance, Diplomat’s Son, Giving Up The Gun, Campus -> Oxford Comma

Encore: Horchata, Ottoman, Mansford Roof, Walcott

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