Last week Vampire Weekend took to the stage in Manchester for their final UK show on their current tour. Adam Terris was there to witness a gig which prompts hope they make a speedy return to these shores.
No words are spoken as Ezra Koenig waltzes up to the microphone to begin Vampire Weekend’s sterling set with ‘Diane Young’. In fact, he rarely bothers to say any words throughout the whole night as Vampire Weekend smash through hit after hit. The set is wonderfully decorated with Romanesque pillars broken up and hanging from the ceiling all in front of a floral patterned backdrop. Modern Vampires of the City will be up there as a challenger for many people’s album of the year come December/January and rightly so, but the live experience only solidifies its position as a frontrunner of 2013.
The set is littered with songs from the new album including the intricately beautiful ‘Step’ and the energetic ‘Diane Young.’ Bassist Chris Baio can often be seen getting his groove on throughout the show, shaking his hips and doing his own unique impression of a Mick Jagger shimmy. Despite the success of their third record, Vampire Weekend haven’t forgotten where they have come from, with the set also featuring many tracks from their self-titled debut album, such as ‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’, the infamous ‘A-Punk’ and the set finale ‘Walcott.’ They even have time to fit in fan favourite ‘Boston’ from their pre-fame days. That’s the thing that makes this gig so fantastic: the band know what the people want and they don’t hesitate in giving them the music, the passion and enthusiasm the crowd is demanding.
The band know what the people want and they don’t hesitate in giving them the music, the passion and enthusiasm the crowd is demanding.
One of the most impressive aspects of Vampire Weekend’s live show is the quality of Ezra Koenig’s voice in the live context. He hits every note with consummate ease, even in the more challenging songs such as ‘Hannah Hunt’, which in all honesty, I personally doubted would even be attempted in a live scenario. It often goes unnoticed how accomplished Koenig has become as a front man and a singer, but any attendee at a live show soon begins to appreciate his ability to make technically challenging work appear so simple.
The band close off their set with an encore of the aforementioned ‘Hannah Hunt’, the brilliant sing-a-long ‘One (Blake’s Got A New Face)’ and ‘Walcott.’ Ezra then says to the crowd: ‘This is our last gig in the UK for a while’, which only encourages the crowd to make the most of the last few songs as they soak up every last minute of the catchy, groovy beat of their UK tour. Ezra has recently said that he is thinking of packing the music in and trying something new, but on this showing he’d surely be crazy to give up what Vampire Weekend are so skilled at: live performance with the ability to tap into a broad range of thrilling emotions.