The Forum, Melbourne VIC
January 7th, 2020
To Wall of Sound’s loyal readers: I know that Vampire Weekend aren’t very metal. Most people know them from their song ‘A-Punk’ featured during the opening scene of ‘Step Brothers’. At first listen, you might just brush them off as yet another indie-rock band, but there’s so much more to them. Hear me out.
The band’s frontman and Jokerman font enthusiast, Ezra Koenig, is a self-confessed fan of The Ramones, The Grateful Dead and Californian ska-punk band Sublime, citing them as influences on his musical taste. The impression left from these bands on Koenig helped influence Vampire Weekend’s fast-paced sound and lyrics as they emerged from New York City’s rock scene in the mid-2000s, which is even more evident in their live show, which tonight clocked in at 27 songs over two and a half hours.
Last year, I was also fortunate enough to see the band perform in San Francisco at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium during the North American leg of the ‘Father of the Bride’ world tour. Tonight, I was expecting a setlist which would be similar to that show, but I was incredibly surprised that it was wildly different. The old favourites were still there (‘A-Punk’, ‘Diane Young’, ‘Unbelievers’) while a major (but positive) shake-up in the live band over the past year has seen the addition of several new members to the Vampire Weekend coven, most notably Brian Robert Jones on guitar. Jones absolutely shreds, nailing some of the faster, more intricate riffs during the set, and in particular, taking lead during some of the heavier extended jam sessions, including the epic ‘Sympathy’ early in the night, and ‘Stoneflower’, a reworked, heavier version of ‘Sunflower’ from ‘Father of the Bride’. Hats off to the band for battling through technical difficulties during ‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’ too. A power failure saw a 30 minute delay during the show as they attempted (and succeeded!) to perform the song. They handled it like the absolute professionals they are, and even ensured that the set wouldn’t be cut short.
They capped of their marathon performance with invitations for fan requests from the crowd (I’m slightly devastated that they didn’t play ‘Finger Back’) and a genuine a performance of ‘Ya Hey’, with its fire referencing lyrics acting as a talking point for the band to speak to the crowd and give us their love and support during these terrible times. A big sincere thank you to the band for donating $10,000 to Wildlife Victoria after the show too.
Vampire Weekend were in fine form tonight, delivering an energetic, dance inducing set that made that six year (and 30 minute) long wait worth it.
Gig Review by Luke Sutton
Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa
(in three parts due to power failure)
New Dorp. New York
Giving Up the Gun
Diplomats Son (by request)
Ottoman (by request)
Kids Don’t Stand a Chance (by request)
Photo Gallery by Holly Parker Insta: @hllyprkr
Please credit Wall of Sound and Holly Parker if you repost photos.