Vampire Weekend At The Hollywood Bowl
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By Erin Hanson
GRAMMY-nominated pop/rock collective Vampire Weekend showed their love to Los Angeles on Sept. 28 as they took the stage at the iconic Hollywood Bowl. Fresh off the release of their third studio album, Modern Vampires Of The City, which climbed to No. 1 on the Billboard 200, the band is in the middle of a big year. Comprising frontman Ezra Koenig, bassist Chris Baio, drummer Chris Tomson, and multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij, Vampire Weekend are currently in the midst of a U.S. and international tour, and have performed at festivals throughout the United States, including South by Southwest, Coachella, Outside Lands, and Lollapalooza.
Kicking off their Hollywood Bowl set with "Cousins," the first single from their 2010 GRAMMY-nominated Best Alternative Music Album Contra, their set carefully integrated new songs with songs from their first two albums, including their 2008 self-titled debut. Tomson's unique and full sound kept a steady beat while Koenig delivered witty lyrics on songs such as "Oxford Comma," which reflects the band's Ivy League education. (They formed in early 2006 when all four members were completing their studies at Columbia University in New York.) The band blazed through the first 17 songs with very little conversation, except for Batmanglij's quick instructional demo for crowd participation during "Horchata."
With the amount of music that came from the stage, one would guess there were a lot more than four people in the band. On songs such as the popular, dance-worthy "A-Punk," the band's tasteful vocal effects and unique and upbeat energy had everyone moving, including Baio, who was clearly having as much fun as his audience as he incessantly danced while plucking at his bass strings.
Vampire Weekend brought the evening to a close with a short two-song encore featuring "Hannah Hunt" and "Walcott." As he introduced their final performance, Koenig said, "Well, it's that time of night where we play 'Walcott.'"
Expressing early in their set how much this stop on their tour meant to the band, Koenig said, "L.A., we've been coming here for years and you've always been one of the most supportive cities." The crowd was indeed supportive, evidenced by the continuous display of high energy as fans danced throughout the aisles, certifying the band's status as indie rock royalty in the process.
To catch Vampire Weekend in a city near you, click here for tour dates.
"Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa"
"Giving Up The Gun"
(Erin Hanson serves as the GRAMMY U Representative for The Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter. She is a live music enthusiast and a proud USC Trojan. Follow her @erin__hanson.)