Heading into the summer of 2007 New Yorkers optimistically embraced their new sun-worshipping soundtrack. Four lads straight from the steps of Columbia University Ezra Koenig, Chris Baio, Rostam Batmanglij, and Chris Tomson innocently infiltrated our ears with fluid seasonal sounds. Bloggers clamoured to post the latest song off their elusive EP and the scene was set for the latest internet buzz band. Now it is almost the fall and Vampire Weekend have returned to their city to play a few highlight shows before the madness that is CMJ.
They are sure to be one of the hardest shows to gain access into and for good measure. Drawing on their love for sultry African rhythms it is easy to compare their sound to the likes of Paul Simon at first listen yet a more intimate study will unveil layers of tempered drumming and frantic guitar strumming quickly released in short spurts of witty dialogue keeping their sound modern and unique. Individually clocking in at a mere 2-4 minutes in length each their songs are heavily laid with witty diction overflowing with playful boyish adventures. Just as you are getting into the groove of things the songs climax abruptly and end ringing.
They are a young band that within the last year has moved from playing for basement audiences to headlining at the newest and most promising music venues Brooklyn has to offer, Williamsburg Music Hall. The boys were fresh and confident on stage tacking their way through a set that consisted of: ‘Mansard Roof’, ‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’, ‘A Punk,’ and ‘The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance.’ Even though theirs was a classic ‘Shoe gazer’ performance their music was so tightly laced that the lack of stage antics just heightened the realization of just how good a live band they are. Testing out a few new songs the audience lovingly embraced the experience with delight, dancing and cheering for more. Despite their widespread acclaim and attention they played to their hometown audience with such youthful affection and grace it was hard not to gratefully accept that yes, they are New York’s ‘Next Big Thing.’ Their songs are fiercely catchy and their live show is fetchingly promising. It was hard to veer away from the memory of Vampire Weekend and continue on with my Saturday night even as the last few notes fed out onto the humid Brooklyn streets. They might have received their diplomas this past spring but these boys are more than ready to show the rest of the world what they have learned as we head into the next season of music in New York.
The Manhattan Room
15 W. Girard Ave Philadelphia, PA Thursday Sept. 13th 8PM Webster Hall
125 East 11th St. New York City, Monday Oct. 1st 8PM with Animal Collective
AjiSignal is a magazine
about new music in cities.