Vampire Weekend

Beach House, The Very Best, Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend, Beach House, and The Very Best at The Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, CA, September 27th, 2010

Oct 01, 2010 Photography by Laura Studarus Web Exclusive
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Although autumn had officially hit several days earlier, one would have been hard pressed to find any signs of the new season at Vampire Weekend’s unseasonably hot Hollywood Bowl debut Sunday night. Also making their sweat-drenched bowl debuts were African/Swedish band The Very Best, and Baltimore. Maryland’s Beach House. 

The evening opened up with the vivacious duo, DJ Johan Hugo (Radioclit) and singer Esau Mwamwaya—who perform as The Very Best. Despite facing the unenviable task of playing to a still settling crowd, the pair—backed by “The Very Best Beautiful Dancers”—lived up to their high-reaching name with an engaging (albeit far too brief) set of electro/African/hip-hop/pop and catchy Chichewa/English lyrics. “In Malawi we got so much mosquitoes,” said Mwamwaya, introducing another rapid-fire cut, “So that’s what we gonna be doing after this song, killing mosquitoes.”

If The Very Best was obsessed with the flirty, high-energy side of music, Beach House was all about the seduction, as their Mazzy Star harmonies floated though the 17,376-seat venue with the ease of post-coital cigarette smoke. Guitarist Alex Scally introduced the band to the sold-out crowd, joking, “It’s not easy for us to step down and play in smaller venues like this.” Pianist/singer Victoria Legrand, all flying hair and oversized arm motions, expressed her joy succinctly offering up, a “Magic and Hollywood, thank you.” The set—comprised mainly of material from this year’s Teen Dream—shimmered atmospherically, as the lights of the bowl slowly turned from a deep red to near-underwater blue.

However delicious the appetizers, it appeared the majority of the audience was there to see the favorite “boys next door” make their big-stage debut. To say Vampire Weekend’s rise has been meteoric is probably a tired cliché at this point—but hey, weren’t they just playing dive bars like, a few months ago? * (*Hyperbole—but not by much.) Given lead singer Ezra Koenig’s previous collaborations with The Very Best, it was a bit of disappointment that there wasn’t any cross over between the two acts. Other than that oversight, nothing was missing from the quartet’s 20-song set. Their angular Paul Simon-esque songs (or in the case of “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa,” Peter Gabriel) had the predominantly young audience dancing from start to finish—heat be damned.

Koenig, reveling his position as lead man kept a steady stream of banter going throughout the show, urging his heated fans to keep dancing (“Feel free, any part of your body you want, to throw it in the air”) or providing cryptic song introductions (on “Blake’s Got a New Face”: “The appropriate emotion for this song is ecstatic anger”). Ultimately theirs was the performance of a band with little to prove—except perhaps (judging by multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij’s thick sweater) their immunity to freakish weather patterns. Mission accomplished.

Beach House setlist:

1. Walk in the Park

2. Gilda

3. Norway

4. Silver Soul

5. Used to Be

6. Zebra

7. Take care

8. 10 Mile Stereo

Vampire Weekend setlist:

1. Holiday

2. White Sky

3. Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa

4. I Stand Corrected

5. M79

6. Bryn

7. California English

8. Cousins

9. Taxi Cab

10. Run

11. A- Punk

12. One (Blake's Got a New Face)

13. I'm Goin' Down (Bruce Springsteen Cover)

14. Diplomat's Son

15. I Think Ur a Contra

16. Giving Up the Gun

17. Campus

 Encore:

18. Horchata

19. Mansard Roof

20. Walcott

(www.vampireweekend.com)

(www.beachhousebaltimore.com)

(www.myspace.com/theverybestmyspace)




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