October 6, 2010
The Palladium Ballroom
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Paul Mau
Photos by Paul Mau
Skeptics may label indie-pop darlings Vampire Weekend the "it" band of the moment, but it's becoming more apparent that the "moment" maybe much longer then their naysayers have expected.
It has only been two years since the four New Yorkers released their self-titled debut. Their irresistible hooks, Pogo inducing rhythms and inspiring guitar play, have garnered Vampire Weekend high praise from critics and fans who are more then willing to participate in any sing-a-long lead singer Ezra Koenig dictates. Their debut record shipped over 500,000 copies and their follow-up, Contra, was Number One on the Billboard 200 charts when it was released this past February. With that said, it's no surprise the show at Palladium Ballroom was their second sold-out performance in Dallas the past six months.
Two great sets by opening acts The Very Best and Beach House set the tone for Vampire Weekend's entrance. Koenig and his band mates Rostam Batmanglij, guitar / keyboards; Chris Baio, bass; and and Chris Tomson, drums; took to the stage with DJ Khaled's "All I Do is Win" blasting through the PA system. Energy simmered throughout the room as fans eagerly awaited the first words to be uttered from Koenig's lips. When the band exploded into their first song, "Holiday", it was a perfect kickoff to a beautiful October evening.
The set list was well-paced and varied when it came to performing the band's hit singles and lesser known albums tracks. It was difficult to distinguish one from another. The crowd knew every word of every song and showed as much enthusiasm for "Cousins" the first single from "Contra", as they did for "M79" a fan favorite from the band's debut. Standouts included "One (Blake's Got a New Face)" and "Horchata", both welcomed by a sold-out crowd chanting and screaming their lungs out, as if they were competing amongst themselves to be the one stand out voice the group heard. The audience was so in-tune with Vampire Weekend, Rostam's ever so familiar guitar riff for "A-Punk" instigated a floor rocking Pogo-ing session by the crowd.
The band seemed to enjoy the politely raucous audience. Chris Baio smiled all night as he danced around the stage, bass in hand, doing his signature jig. Baio's ever so energetic battery mate, drummer Chris Tomson, provided a pounding rhythmic beat throughout the evening. At one point in the evening, Rostam Batmanglij channeled his inner Jimi Hendrix during a guitar solo in "Giving up the Gun". As for Ezra Koenig, he didn't hit a sour note all night long. His hold on the crowd was such; even grown men acquiesced to Koenig's wishes to have everyone put up "spirit fingers" throughout the duration of "Mansfard Roof".
At the end of the night, hands were raised and voices were lost as this hip quartet from Columbia University quenched a crowd's thirst for good ole guitar pop. Don't be surprised if this "trendy" Ivy League band is looking for bigger rooms to play the next time they venture into the DFW area.