Monday, July 23, 2007

Vampire Weekend

It was my first time at the Rickshaw Stop, and also the first time I heard the music of Vampire Weekend. Technically, it wasn't really the first time; L had somehow gotten in correspondence with their frontman, Ezra Koenig, and played one of their song over the phone for me, but (to put it mildly) it wasn't the medium of choice to fully appreciate the music. Anyway, we were invited to see them open for the Shout Out Louds (so this was also my first time on the guest list for a band) - and I loved it.

There is no mistake, Vampire Weekend is an indie pop band from New York, and they do look the part all right; once they started playing, the first comparison that came to my mind was with The Strokes. And yet, there is something else, something very fresh and endearing about them. It has to do with the attitude, or rather the lack thereof - but also with the music, which has a lightness to it that is often lacking in pop acts. The rhythm section is excellent; I could not place it initially, but reading through some of their press pointed at a self-professed afrobeat influence. It would seem like an unexpected blend, but they pull it off perfectly, and make it sound obvious, keeping the best of both worlds: catchy, upbeat songs, and lyrics with just what it takes of cleverness and irony.
By contrast, the Shout Out Louds were pretty painful. I have to admit I had heard one of their songs before, "the comeback", and had developed a strong distaste for it - but the rest of the material did not do anything to change my opinion. So while I wish Vampire Weekend were the main act, this turned out for the best, as it gave L and I a chance to sneak out of the concert midway through the Shout Out Louds, without missing anything of a great evening.

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