Last Night: Vampire Weekend at the Glass House September 16, 2008
Better Than: taking your garlic pills.
Download: "Oxford Comma" from the Vampire Weekend homepage.
Buzz and critical acclaim can be a double-edged sword. Vampire Weekend wielded the sharper side last night by performing a biting set that silenced critics and delighted fans.
The city of Chino was well represented in the form of Abe Vigoda. They mentioned they used to get dropped off to see shows at the Glass House and also informed the crowd it was Mexican Independence Day. Abe Vigoda mixed equal portions of Joy Division, Talking Heads with a dash of Fugazi for a no holds barred tattered post punk romp. "Bear Face" had scratchy guitars and a weird time signature that might confuse average listeners, but achieves the goal of perking up your ears.
White Williams is actually the brainchild of Joe Williams (Vocals/Synthesizers). An opening stint for Nine Inch Nails followed by jumping on a short tour with Vampire Weekend should help increase his profile. White Williams splices together broken synthesizer samples and delayed guitars to form a soundtrack to a daydream. "Sometime Around Midnight" would be the included in a John Hughes movie from the '80s in an alternate universe. Joe was manipulating the modulation wheel on his Dave Smith Evolver keyboard for swirls of sound as his guitarist triggered other samples to layer the song. No drugs are required to listen to White Williams.
A shuffling beat of the snare drum near the thirty-second mark of "Mansard Roof" ignited the Glass House audience to break out their dance moves. Ezra Koenig (Vocals,Guitars) rapidly tremolo picked his Epiphone hollowbody guitar with a wide grin on his face as he danced along with the crowd. Rostam Batmanglij (Keyboards) was deftly operating two keyboard controllers as he dialed up an assortment of sounds ranging from harpsichord to the mellotron.
Ezra kept the crowd moving with bubbly rendition of "Boston" with its ska influenced guitar riff. Rostam equipped himself with a guitar for the cold pina colada tropical song "White Sky". A rambling bass line from Chris Baio was conjoined with the sweet tones of a mellotron for a delicious version of "A-Punk". "One (Blake's Got A New Face) was the sing along moment of the evening as Ezra instructed the crowd to perform a call and response when he screamed "Blake's Got A New Face!".
The ladies in the room really started to swoon during "Oxford Comma" as Ezra's vocal delivery was eerily similar to that of Paul Simon but I hear just as much musical influence from The Police and Peter Gabriel. "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" was the final stake in the heart as Vampire Weekend had successfully slayed the audience.
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Personal Bias: Any band that judiciously incorporates the mellotron into their songs immediately gets my attention.
Random Detail: The guitarist from Abe Vigoda had an awesome vintage Jesus & The Mary Chain shirt.
By The Way: Vampire Weekend is playing San Diego Street Scene this Friday.