It’s been quite a year for Vampire Weekend. Their second album, Contra, went to number one in their native US, thus becoming just the second band on British independent label XL, to have a US number one. Now they are embarking on another sell out tour across the UK, their biggest one yet, which includes two nights at London’s Alexandra Palace.
As temperatures dropped below freezing in Sheffield, Vampire Weekend’s blend of summery, afro-pop tunes went some way to warming up the 02 Academy. Opener ‘Holiday’, with its spunky guitar work, and ‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’ ironically told of sunshine and warmth, however the crowd still raved around like it was a warm summer’s afternoon.
Singer Ezra Koenig asked the crowd to join in with his “woahs” of ‘M79’ and also the chorus to ‘One (Blake’s Got a New Face)’, which they did with noise and joy. Meanwhile Koenig’s microphone spilled extra-terrestrial noises for the whole of ‘California English,’ rather ironically about girls dressing like summer in California, during freezing cold English weather.
Unsurprisingly, the biggest cheer of the night came for ‘A-Punk’, with the entire crowd bouncing around for the 2 minutes and vigorously chanting back the “eh ehs.” However, the majority of crowd where in loud voice throughout the show, chanting back the words to every song. The energy levels dropped down to the slow, sombre reggae beats of ‘Diplomat’s Son’, which brilliantly switched between paces throughout the song. While the lighting system followed the velocity, flashing around during the rapid guitars and eccentric drumming of Chris Tomson, during ‘Cousins’, whilst Koenig was given his own lighting when he sang his lyrics to the crowd, as if he was giving his own monologue. Bassist Chris Baio switched to a double bass, during ‘Taxi Cab,’ and multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij regularly switched between guitars and keyboards throughout.
During the encore, Koenig asked fans to put the hands in the air “and wiggle your fingers around, like magic” during the quick and short ‘Mansard Roof.’ Koenig addressed the crowd that the band would be back soon “after the new album” and stated several times how they wanted to come back to Sheffield.
On a bitter cold winter’s night, Vampire Weekend are just what’s needed to bring back the warmth and sunshine of summer time. It’s not that long till summer, is it?
Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa
I Stand Corrected
One (Blake’s Got A New Face)
Giving Up The Gun