×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Vampire Weekend

The Gotham-based combo is the very model of the modern post-grad outfit.

With:
Band: Ezra Koenig, Rostam Batmanglij, Chris Baio, Chris Thomson. Beach House and Dum Dum Girls also performed.

On the surface, Vampire Weekend seem like ideal sitcom boyfriends — unthreatening, pleasantly wacky without being too off-kiler, and just cosmopolitan enough to keep things interesting. Well, this is one of those times when you can indeed judge a book by its cover: The Gotham-based combo is the very model of the modern post-grad outfit, one capable of notching a number-one album (this year’s XL release, “Contra”) while remaining at least one album shy of inevitable hipster backlash.

At this, the opening night of a three-night stand at Radio City Music Hall that has become one of the fall’s hottest tickets, the quartet came across as more relaxed and confident than in their club days. Pan-ethnic tinges like the tropicalia of the sweetly nonsensical “Horchata” and the soukous guitar riffing of “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” have been more fully integrated, and seem like part of a real band DNA as opposed to a sociological experiment in the making.

While Paul Simon isn’t the hippest touchstone, he’s the closest corollary to VW mainman Ezra Koenig, who shares the same filmic attention to detail and character development, and the same sense of commitment to precision. The latter element can short-circuit Vampire Weekend’s live shows, and it came close to doing just that in stretches of this perf, which took in virtually every song on the band’s two studio albums.

A passel of breezy, lightweight tunes like “California English” and “Bryn” blended into a sonic gauze that wafted down onto the aud lazily and pleasantly, as if to lull, rather than enliven. The mood perked up a tad during their relatively straightforward rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m Goin’ Down,” but didn’t really pick up again until they delivered a bristly one-two punch of “Giving Up the Gun” and “I Think UR a Contra.”

Although Us magazine named the band to its just-minted list of Most Stylish New Yorkers, Vampire Weekend clearly haven’t succumbed to the cult of personality. That’s the good news. The bad news? They could stand to study that playbook at least once.

Openers Dum Dum Girls delivered a frenetic set of deliciously minimalist punk to a minimal audience, while second-billed Beach House pumped out a short set that was long on dreamy charm.

Vampire Weekend plays the Hollywood Bowl on Sept. 26.

Vampire Weekend

Radio City Music Hall; 5,904 seats

Production: Presented by Live Nation.

Cast: Band: Ezra Koenig, Rostam Batmanglij, Chris Baio, Chris Thomson. Beach House and Dum Dum Girls also performed.

More Music

  • The Lonely Island Are Comically Plausible

    Concert Review: The Lonely Island Are Comically Plausible Pop-Rappers on First Tour

    A funny thing happened on the way to the Lonely Island’s first-ever, multi-city tour, which kicked off at Bonnaroo this past weekend. At their third stop Wednesday at the Met Philadelphia, the hip-hop comedy trio of Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone proved they could parody rap-pop with comic plausibility and their own brand of musical [...]

  • Livenation AR Live stream

    Live Nation to Debut AR Live Stream at Music Midtown Festival

    Come September, Live Nation is set to begin streaming live events in augmented reality. The entertainment giant will debut live AR broadcasting at the Music Midtown festival in Atlanta, Georgia, where attendees will also be able to unlock filters and other AR effects. Live Nation announced the new initiative at the Cannes Lions festival Thursday, [...]

  • Elton John performing at Earls Court,

    Elton John Has a Message for Struggling LGBTQ Youth: 'Be Proud of Who You Are'

    Elton John isn’t at a loss for words when asked if he has a message for young LGBTQ people who are struggling with their sexuality or gender identity. In an exclusive interview with Variety at last month’s Cannes Film Festival, just hours before the world premiere of his long-in-the-works biopic “Rocketman,” John spoke candidly about the [...]

  • Frank Ocean

    What Happened to the Black Queer Music Revolution That Frank Ocean Almost Started?

    Seven years ago, Frank Ocean got us talking about a revolution — or at least hoping for one. On the eve of releasing “Channel Orange,” his groundbreaking 2012 debut studio album, the then-24-year-old alt-R&B singer-songwriter wrote an open letter on his Tumblr blog in which he revealed that his first love had been a man. [...]

  • Donald Glover Beyonce

    Beyoncé and Donald Glover Harmonize in 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight' Ad Preview

    Anyone who’s longed to hear Beyoncé and Donald Glover harmonizing got just enough to further whet the appetite in a first snippet of their version of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” that’s included in a new commercial for Disney’s upcoming “Lion King” remake. The TV spot lasts just 30 seconds, hardly time at all [...]

  • Pride Allies

    The Hollywood Allies Who Helped Protect, Advance the LGBTQ Community This Year

    Strong and proud as it is, the LGBTQ community’s fight for equality needs allies — from loving and accepting families to galvanized colleagues and corporations to the movie star you’ve never met calling for boycotts of a homophobic nation-state. Several of those queer supporters in Hollywood and music used the megaphones of social media, public [...]

  • Amazon Music

    Amazon Music Launches on Comcast's Xfinity X1 Set-Tops

    Amazon Music is rolling out on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 — the first pay-TV distribution deal for the ecommerce company’s music service. The cable operator’s addition of Amazon Music comes six months after it added Amazon Prime Video to the X1 lineup. Prime Video quickly became one of the most-used apps on the service, which prompted [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content