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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Last Night: Vampire Weekend and Abe Vigoda at the Fox

Posted By on Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 8:01 AM

  • Richard Haick
Vampire Weekend
The Fox Theater
April 19, 2010

Better Than: getting bitten by a vampire wearing high-tops, skinny jeans, and shaggy bangs.

Last night, the Columbia grads of Vampire Weekend, led by frontman Ezra Koening and his impressive falsetto, waltzed out on stage to the tune of ... "Jump Around" by House of Pain. It seemed like an odd introduction. Until the sold-out crowd at the Fox began to do exactly as the music suggested, that is. The jumping rarely stopped throughout the show, as tweens, their parents, and seemingly everyone who attended the most recent MGMT concert (according to multiple overheard conversations), rallied hard for the growing indie pop sensation.

New York-based Vampire Weekend has a Paul Simon-esque, calypso sound going on, and its constantly upbeat riffs can be both catchy and annoying. But mostly, they're just annoyingly catchy. The band kept its sound dynamic, swiftly moving between ska, rock, and dub to keep the crowd's attention. 

  • Richard Haick
​The group is promoting its second album, Contra, and played plenty of songs off of the new disc, but fans tended to cling to the tried-and-true hits. The crowd was particularly energetic and hungry for the energy that emanates from songs like "A-Punk" and "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa." It was during these popular singles that Vampire Weekend really popped ... along with a sea of devoted fans, who waved their fists in the air, one step ahead of every beat. The band could definitely switch up its tendency to stick to one chord throughout its entire set. But Vampire Weekend had good on-stage energy that made up for the monotony that ensued in some of its lengthier numbers.

  • Richard Haick

  • Richard Haick
Openers Abe Vigoda seriously brought out the old lady in me with its monotonous,

drum-overloaded, self-proclaimed "tropical punk" rock. Last night, Vigoda treaded the not-so-fine-line between angst-y punk and music

most often listened to by shoppers at Hot Topic - verging

dangerously towards the latter.

I can see that Abe Vigoda might do well

in a smaller venue with more sweaty bodies crashing around. But the band's sound was overblown last night, and lacked the dynamics

necessary to get bodies moving at a behemoth like The Fox. At one point

in the set, the lead singer asked for more vocals, when what the group really needed was to tone down the drums, which were drowning out just

about everything else. That being said, Abe Vigoda's latest album, Reviver,

has some good songs on it, and is definitely worth a listen.  

  • Richard Haick
Critic's Notebook

Personal bias #1: I wish robot voice modulators were never invented. Why must every upcoming pop sensation stoop to the robot voice modulator level? Why?

Personal bias #2: Vampire Weekend's giant photo backdrop of the pretty blond with the deer-in-headlights look (featured on the cover of its Contra album) was totally distracting from the on-stage action. Especially when her eyes began to glow. 

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Anna McCarthy


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