Click here for the slideshow, also by Andrew Youssef!
The Hype: Can you feel it? It's Coachella fever. It strikes Southern California a few days prior with warm up shows dotting various venues, as bands tune up for their moment under the sun. Pomona was extremely happening for a Wednesday night with a sold out Vampire Weekend show at the Fox Theater and Deerhunter packing in the folks at the Glass House.
The Show: A gigantic line of fans snaked the circumference of the Fox Theater as the marquee was affixed with a sold out designation. Chants of Vampire Weekend started to emanate from crowd. The electronic hand claps of "White Sky" started to tumble over the audience as Ezra Koenig slid in front of his microphone to sing while delicately plucking out the guitar notes on his Epiphone hollowbody.
Bouncing keyboards ignited the crowd on the floor to start dancing during "Holiday" as Chris Baio kept the rhythm humming with his Rickenbacker bass. Released in January, their second album Contra hit the number one spot on the Billboard 200 and all those people who purchased the album were definitely in the building. Koenig asked the crowd to sing along during "M79" requesting for more "Del Taco and less Baja Fresh."
Five suspended chandeliers flickered with the beat during "Bryn." A ramped up version of "California English" was slick enough to make me forget about the autotuned vocals. Koenig dedicated "Cousins" to the special people in our lives whether they be your "first or second." It was impressive to see Koenig and Rostam Batmanglij harmonize their guitars during the tremolo breakdown.
It was slightly depressing to see the stripped down mellow vibe of "Taxi Cab" get ruined by the inordinate amount of camera flashes and cell phones in the air--have some respect, people. The amusing lighting trick of the evening occurred during "Run" when the eyes of female pictured on the cover their album glowed a demonic red. One can envision the sea of people going crazy at Coachella judging by the amount of dancing during "A-Punk."
"One (Blake's Got a New Face)," "Diplomat's Son," a fist pumping "Giving Up the Gun" and a medley of "Campus" and "Oxford Comma" brought their main set to end. For the encore, "Horchata" was as refreshing as it sounds with the crowd singing along. A two minute blast of "Mansard Roof" and "Walcott" had Koenig wondering out loud if it will be any better at Coachella. Good thing is that I will be there to find out.
The Crowd: It was a sea of girls on the front barricade and outnumbering guys almost 4:1. My suspicions of a Coachella crowd were proved wrong judging by the lukewarm response of who was going to Coachella when the question was posed by Koenig.
Overheard: One female gushed to her friend "I told you they were amazing!" In case you don't believe the hype, they will return to the Hollywood Bowl in September. Impressive.