Bring The Noise UK

Vampire Weekend, Alexandra Palace 2/12/10

On a cold, snowy winter’s night in London, Vampire Weekend bring their summery Upper West Side Soweto to warm everyone in attendance at Alexandra Palace. Coats, hats and scarves are still firmly attached after support Ratatat but the headliners soon change this. Accompanied by rap music, the New York four-piece take to the stage and launch into ‘Holiday’ and the crowd react as if a ray of sunshine has ascended around the room. Many other tracks from second album ‘Contra’ are unleashed early; recent single ‘White Sky’ is one of them and does its best to lift dampened spirits with its quirky riff and chirpy onomatopoeic chorus.

During the first few songs, it feels like they aren’t quite filling up the venue. They’ve slayed bigger spaces than this before so it shouldn’t be a problem. However, the second half sees them turn things around-the fast pace craziness of ‘Cousins’ is to thank for this along with an energetic ‘Giving Up The Gun’; arguably the best played on the night. The band throws everything into it and its compelling build up almost knocks us over. Predictably ‘A-Punk’ provokes the loudest crowd reaction, but tonight it seems it is perhaps played too early as it forgotten quickly.

Some of the slower numbers are drowned out by the big space which is a shame; ‘I Think Ur A Contra’ and ‘Taxi Cab’ slightly lose the concentration of people who prefer their more upbeat numbers. But these songs really illustrate the extent of their instrumental ability and allow us to appreciate the true beauty of every different experimental sound produced within their music. One slow song that certainly isn’t lost within the crowd is fan favourite ‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’, which rouses a jubilant response and ‘One (Blake’s got a new face)’ stuns as frontman Ezra Koenig’s vocal range reaches heights we can only imagine exist.

The last section of the show sees them celebrating their debut as they parade through ‘Campus’ and into ‘Oxford Comma’ without hesitation. ‘Mansard Roof’ attracts a mass sing-a-along whilst an exhilarating ‘Walcott’ concludes the show in a suitable fashion. They prove to be the perfect songs to end the encore as everyone dances buoyantly within a giant but friendly mosh-pit that seems to have engulfed the entire room. Ezra is complimentary of the scenes as he enthuses; “that was an amazing mosh pit, a combination of moshing and hugging – it’s so positive!” Even though they play almost every song they’ve recorded, the gig seems to finish quickly as there’s hardly a break in-between all the commotion. But at the rare times there is, the band are swift to show gratification towards the crowd, who they thank for coming out in such adverse weather conditions. We think we can speak on behalf of everyone when we say that it was definitely worth it.

Written by: Nadia Jenna Bensihem

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