Live Review: Vampire Weekend, Edinburgh 14/02/2010

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By Kim Humphrey, Photo Credit: Rosie Isaac

On Sunday, my flatmate, Rosie, and I spent the evening being pushed and squished by screaming 14 and 15 year-old girls. Perhaps not the most romantic way to spend Valentine’s day, but the gig was far too good for me to care about that.

Due to being a general mess, I’m sorry to say I missed most of the support act. But from what I heard towards the end of their set, Fan Death, were really good.

It took a while for Vampire Weekend to get on stage after Fan Death finished their set. The crowd started chanting “Vampire Weekend” for a bit, but like most chanting, that awkwardly died down after people started getting a bit tired and realised the band still wasn’t coming on stage yet. But then the lights dimmed, people started cheering, the band members took their position, and the black back drop fell away to reveal a giant print of the cover image of “Contra”, with the pupil’s of the girls eyes eerily cut out – they glowed red during a line in “Walcott” (“the lobster’s claws is as sharp as knives/evil feasts on human lives/the Holy Roman Empire roots for you”). So it was fairly dramatic, but understandably: Vampire Weekend are good, very good.

I don’t remember much of the set-list, but I do remember a healthy mix between songs from Contra and songs from their debut album Vampire Weekend. A testament to this is how the stage was set. As already mentioned the back drop was the cover art to the Contra “album”, but on top of that three chandeliers were hung from the ceiling – a reference to the cover art of their first album. The sound was also absolutely perfect, the band sounded like they do on their albums. Since most, if not all, of their songs are upbeat, there was a lot of jumping up and down, hence being pushed and squished by teenage girls.

For the encore, Vampire Weekend did a cover of “Stand By Me” to commemorate Valentine’s day, which first consisted of lead singer Ezra Koening talking for a few minutes about the different ways we could find love (at the gig itself was one of the suggestions). But what was really special was that they ended the show with my favourite song from their first album, “Mansard Roof” (“being from Edinburgh, and having such lovely buildings, you should appreciate a song about architecture” – Ezra Koening).

So if you’re ever considering watching Vampire Weekend and you think you’re okay to put up with hoards of young teenagers (the perks: they’re short, so it’s not hard to see over their heads), then you definitely should.

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