Saturday, September 21, 2013

Vampire Weekend is Immediately Electrifying at Barclay's Center

Last night, indie rock's preppiest "boy band," Vampire Weekend, blazed onto the stage at Barclay's Center for their first-ever show at the massive Brooklyn arena. Lead singer and guitarist, Ezra Koenig, joked that the show would be a late record release party, celebrating the band's third studio album, "Modern Vampires of the City," which came out this past May. Even so, serious stage time was given to fan favorites from their first two albums-- the eponymous album that launched their fame, "Vampire Weekend," and their critically acclaimed sophomoric album, "Contra."

Vampire Weekend at Barclay's Center
Immediately electrifying the Barclay's crowd on Friday evening, Vampire Weekend energetically opened with "Cousins," and the audience was reveling on their feet for the remainder of the approximately one hour and fifteen minute set (sans encore, which went for another fifteen minutes or so). Fans old and new were placated with a mix of ethereal tunes from "Modern Vampires," such as "Enchanting Arms," and "Ya Hey," and peppy fan favorites from the first two albums, including "Horchata" and "A-Punk." The band continued to keep it ironic with songs like "Oxford Comma," and "Diane Young," and by the end of the night they had played well over half of their complete discography.

The showmanship was also stellar. Guitarist Chris Baio was jumping around the stage so much, his feet barely touched the floor, yet his playing was flawless. Rostam Batmanglij's skills on the synthesizer added the new wave touch to a variety of songs, while percussionist Chris Tomson kept me puzzled with his ever-rotating wardrobe of Nets jerseys.

As Koneig explained, though some of their lyrics may lead some fans to believe they're a Massachusetts-based band (e.g. "Walcott" and "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa"), Vampire Weekend actually has its roots in New York City. The crowd roared at this and later went into a dance craze frenzy when the band closed its "spontaneous" encore with "Walcott."

Vampire Weekend has a long, global tour ahead of them, through January 2014, but no current plans to return to the NYC metro area. The closest show will be in Rochester, NY, on December 1.  To get your Vampire fix, you can stream singles from the new album, "Modern Vampires of the City" on Vampire Weekend's homepage, or purchase music and accessories here.

As for Barclay's as a music venue, the popular acts keep coming. Everyone from Phoenix to Justin Timberlake to Nine Inch Nails wants a piece of the action at Barclay's. However, the acoustics could be better, and the seats and rows could be wider. If you're excessively tall or heavyset, or have a leg injury, good luck fitting into a seat at Barclay's. With all the money that went into building the corporate-infused arena, one would think they would make it a little more comfortable for patrons. At least someone did think to give the seats comfortable back cushions (presumably funded by Metro PCS, as the company's name is embroidered into every chair).

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