Vampire Weekend Concert Review



Ryan Weicht

Four months after the release of their first album in six years, Vampire Weekend jumped into the Philadelphia concert scene in front of a massive crowd at the Mann. The album, titled “Father of the Bride,” is the band’s fourth LP and their longest one to date. The North American tour kicked off on May 17 and will continue until October. Afterwards, the band will visit venues in Europe, Japan, and Mexico before returning for a second American stint.

Forbes writer Darryn King put it perfectly when he said that Vampire Weekend exudes ‘sun-soaked good cheer.’ Their happy vibe fit the Mann perfectly, with its breezy back lawn, cozy pavilion and countless rows of string lights. Ezra leads the band with quietly suave charm, with bassist Chris Baio dancing passionately at his side. The band’s music conveys many different ideas, with sounds that hint at summer and lyrics that seem regal and floral. On stage, Vampire Weekend transforms these sonic themes into living, jiving jams that can be carried through much longer spaces in time than their recorded versions without getting old.

“Father of the Bride” certainly saw a stylistic change in Vampire Weekend’s music, but the band managed to blend new and old without missing a beat. The setlist paired songs of different eras that feel as if they are parallel in some ideas but still diverge at the right moments. Some notable moments were the transition from the adorable “Bambina” to the quirky “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” and the pensive “Hannah Hunt” to the celestial and festive “Flower Moon.”

Overall, fans of any part of Vampire Weekend discography were pleased by the show. The setlist included old songs, new songs, covers, features from other albums and deep cuts such as “Jonathan Low.” In their encore, the band took suggestions from the audience, ultimately choosing “Walcott” and “Oxford Comma” from the roaring throng of voices in the pavilion. While this was certainly one of the best, most fun moments in the show, the finale blew everything else away. Banners unfurled from the rafters and gigantic inflatable globes mirroring the spinning earth on stage were released above the crowd. Ezra sang his heart out as the band played a thundering rendition of “Ya Hey.” Choosing that track to be the final word might have been unexpected, but Vampire Weekend transformed it into the perfect way to cap off the night and leave a feeling of grandeur in all of the concertgoers.

Vampire Weekend demonstrated its experience in Philadelphia through this magnificent show. Nothing felt over-the-top, yet the show couldn’t have been described as simple either. The performance had a charm that was “just right,” one that I would recommend anyone to go and see before the band finishes its tour.