Vampire Weekend Concert Review
Returning to the Twin Cities for the first time since 2013, Ezra Koenig and company brought Vampire Weekend’s Father of the Bride tour to The Armory. Touring behind the critically acclaimed album of the same name, Koenig and crew amazed their sold-out crowd.
Koenig performed with the charm of a younger Rivers Cuomo as he led the audience through an impressive 28 song set. During their nearly two-hour performance, the group played fan favorites like “Diane Young” and deep cuts such as “Johnathan Low” and “M79”. The group welcomed fan requests during their encore.
With a new set-list each night, Vampire Weekend brought what I thought was their best collection of songs. I jumped on the bandwagon in 2013 when they released Modern Vampires of the City. I was delighted to hear some of my favorites off that album and discovered new tracks to add to my Spotify rotation.
The group’s musicianship was absolutely on point throughout the night. A stand out performance came from touring guitarist Brian Robert Jones. His guitar solos and charisma brought the show to a new level.
A highlight came from the extended outros of many of their shorter songs, giving new life in a live setting. Another high point was a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere” (I am always a sucker for a Fleetwood Mac cover).
Despite not treating the Twin Cities to a rendition of the Parks & Recreation theme song like they did at a previous show, their performance was not without a special local charm. Vampire Weekend teamed up with Sweet Martha’s Cookies to fundraise for The Friends of Saint Paul Public Library.
“We want to welcome a local legend onto the stage,” Koenig said as Sweet Martha herself came on stage to talk about their fundraising efforts. They sold limited edition Sweet Martha’s t-shirts which will no doubt be worn proudly at this year’s State Fair. Band members ate the legendary cookies and apparently passed some out to the crowd (although they never got to me, and I am furious about that).
Vampire Weekend fans are among the most respectful, if not meme-ish, people I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a show with. A fan even brought a large cutout of Steve Buscemi’s head after finding out he was related to one of the band members. Buscemi once hosted a Vampire Weekend performance—a fun fact I deeply enjoy.
Opening for Vampire Weekend was Chicano Batman, a funk group from Los Angeles. During their performance it was clear why they were selected to be the openers. Their overall tone reminded me of early Vampire Weekend albums.
Chicano Batman is an unforgettable band name, and offered an equally unforgettable performance. Best described as a ‘folk meets indie style jam band,’ there were moments of wonderful musicianship mixed with bursts of high energy. The entire crowd seemed to really love what the group offered. I could easily see Chicano Batman hitting the main stage of Rock the Garden one day. I highly recommend checking them out on Spotify if you need something new on your playlists.
Vampire Weekend stands as one of my favorite concerts of the year. With an intelligent and charming stage presence mixed with a perfect setlist, it was an absolute blast. Here is hoping they don’t keep us waiting too long for their next Minnesota performance.
4. White Sky
6. Everlasting Arms (tour debut)
7. This Life
8. Kwassa (Sweet Martha’s Version)
10. Unbearably White
11. 2021 (Joy Edition)
12. Mansard Roof
13. Jonathan Low
14. Harmony Hall
15. Diane Young
18. Giving Up The Gun (tour debut)
19. Big Blue
20. Everywhere (Fleetwood Mac cover)
21. Jerusalem, New York, Berlin
22. How Long?
23. Diplomat’s Son
24. Hannah Hunt (request)
25. Kids Don’t Stand A Chance (request)
26. Horchata (request)
27. Giant (very abbreviated) (request)