What is it with all-ages gigs and small children? I understand music is for everyone and we should embrace the fact that youngin’s are enjoying quality tunes, but when one is outnumbered by kids I get a little alarmed. Standing in line outside the new Entertainment Centre Theatre, I wondered if we were maybe at the wrong venue. My friend felt the same way.“Is this the line for a Justin Beiber concert or something?” And with the amount of rubbish out front, it looked like some of these kids were just as obsessed and had been waiting in line for a long time.
But although the underage crowd did nothing for my hipster cred, it did make for an enthusiastic atmosphere. Lights went down and the place erupted with the sound of girls squealing (or maybe it was young boys?) even though it was only the support act Cloud Control. Despite having little commercial exposure, the audience clearly loved the charismatic and animated Alistair Wright whose resemblance to trendy-geek Seth Cohen is uncanny.
Playing tracks off their soon to be released debut, Bliss Release, their brand of folky/indie/rock is truly infectious. Spruiking their album in between ‘Gold Canary’ and ‘Vintage Books’, they also invited everyone to their next gig in Adelaide.
Bassist Jeremy: “Who loves Jive bar?!”
Young Crowd: “…”
Older Crowd: “WOOOOH!”
Finishing with ‘Buffalo Country’, it was clear they’d found themselves some new fans and quite a few potential buyers for their debut.
But there was no mistaking, the punters wanted Vampire Weekend, and after a half hour wait (does it really take that long to set up the stage? Anyone?) they finally got them. If they had erupted before, the crowd nearly exploded at the sight of vocalist Ezra, sauntering on stage. Opening with ‘White Sky’ from their latest release Contra, one thing was for sure; these guys are incredible live.
I’ll admit, I had my doubts beforehand. Those falsetto highs seamlessly reached on both their records surely couldn’t be recreated in real life. Turns out they can, with Ezra hardly missing a note throughout the whole 75 minute set.
Playing nearly all of their tracks from both albums, the New York quartet showed they’re not just about quirky sing-alongs, although there’s no denying ‘One (Blake’s Got A New Face)’ was a testimony to the crowd’s vocal chords. Including their slower tracks ‘I Stand Corrected’ and ‘Taxi Cab’, plus their experimental ‘Diplomat’s Son’, was an interesting choice though, with many in the audience becoming a tad restless. But their hits ‘A-Punk’, ‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’ and ‘M79’easily won the crowd back.
The impressive thing about Vampire Weekend is not just their fantastic live performances but their relationship with the audience. Top marks to bassist Chris Baio whose constant interaction with the right side of the crowd stole a few ladies hearts (yes, mine included).
It was also obvious the guys were thrilled with their reception in Adelaide with Ezra declaring: “You guys are one of the best crowds we’ve ever had. I’m serious!”
Ending their stellar set with ‘Walcott’, it’s safe to say the crowd left elated, albeit a bit hot and bothered. It’s impossible to stand still during a Vampire Weekend concert – next time they’re here, I dare you. You’ll lose.
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