Vampire Weekend may well be the perfect Saturday morning band. Their gorgeous indie-rock cuts were built to be listened to as the sun hits its peak, and frontman Ezra Koenig has one of those voices that could heal even the harshest of hangovers. It’s no wonder that their recent London appearance in March involved a Saturday morning show just like this, that involved artisan coffee and pastries for attendees.
It was an absolute no-brainer for them to nab the opening slot at The Park stage this morning (June 28). As fans brushed off the cobwebs, Ezra and co. turned in what may be the most fun and loose set of the weekend. Well, it’s to be expected, considering they’re living up to that mantle as this ‘Father Of The Bride’ tour rolls on.
Since their fourth album came out back in May, the New York four-piece look like a band reborn. The tight and rather predictable live band that they’d been for their entire career has been banished. Now, they’ve evolved turned into sprawling rock institution, one that has now expanded to seven members, has turned spiky indie anthems into seven-minute jams and regularly perform several covers per shows and On paper, it sounds noodly and overwrought, but it’s in fact a complete delight.
That new side of them shows themselves rather early on. This show’s performance of ‘Stranger’ ups the boogie with a funky breakdown, while ‘M79’ and ‘Bambina’ are similarly bombastic. As guitarist Brian wigs out, Ezra looks on lovingly and in complete awe – it’s a remarkably sweet moment.
The band then turn to one of the more interesting parts of their enlivened live performances: they’re taking requests, baby. Fans yell back at the stage with requests for hits, deep cuts and covers. ‘Finger Back’, ‘Hannah Hunt’, ‘Giant’ and ‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’ winning out this time, and Ezra promises that this set will be very different to show on Pyramid Stage tomorrow evening. It’s an absolute joy to watch the band dig deep into their discography, knowing that they can pull off just about any song that’s shouted back at them.
The freewheelin’ set continues when they incorporate elements of Chicago’s rather fittingly titled song ‘Saturday In The Park’ into their own sprawling version ‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’. A second cover in the shape of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Everywhere’ is nothing short of perfection, and sparks a huge morning singalong.
After 40-minutes, the band return to the new album that helped reinvent the band, ‘Father Of The Bride’. The be-bopping ‘Sunflower’ somehow interspersed metal elements amongst the beauty, and the jaunty ‘Harmony House’ makes for a euphoric closer – it’d have been a bonafide baggy anthem if it came out 20 years ago. Right now, it’s all fun and games for Vampire Weekend. By the looks of it, the fun might never stop. Good lord, let’s hope it doesn’t.
Vampire Weekend played:
Finger Back (request)
Hannah Hunt (request)
Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa (request)