Vampire Weekend

Live Shots

Live Shots
Photo by Jana Birchum

Vampire Weekend

Stubb's, April 10

"We all grew up with some hardships, but now we're here," winked Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig as he prefaced "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" with a knowing smile. After two acclaimed albums in three years and near-constant touring, the Ivy Leaguers have become a tight, confident unit that's learned to shrug off attacks on its privileged pretension and cultural appropriations. To wit, the band took the stage to DJ Kool's "Let Me Clear My Throat" and branded the sing-along section of "I Stand Corrected" as "part one of our corporate trust building exercise," but more importantly, delivered a perfectly paced 75-minute sold-out set that unpacked nearly every song in its terse catalog. The contrast to VW's last appearance at Stubb's, anchoring the Spin party at SXSW 2008, couldn't have been more night and day. Then, the Columbia graduates looked like a Dockers ad – rigid and a bit lifeless, with a wardrobe of polo shirts and boat shoes. Now, it's almost as if the quartet has become the ultimate boy band. With governor's hair and an irresistible knack for melody, Koenig works a crowd with his eyebrows alone, contorting his face and rising to his tiptoes for lilting opener "White Sky" and "One (Blake's Got a New Face)." Keyboardist Rostam Batmanglij – presenting compositions with Austin's Golden Hornet Project and Tosca String Quartet at the Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz on April 26 as part of this year's Fusebox Festival – added classical wonderment with the swirling, tinned horns in "Run" and a brief duet on M.I.A.-sampled "Diplomat's Son." Heartthrob Christopher Tomson controlled the tempo behind his kit, revving up the jittery reggae-ska spunk of Contra's "Cousins," while Chris Baio transitioned to stand-up bass for the serene "Taxi Cab" confessional. When the four lock into gear, as on the crisp, Afro-pop of "Holiday" and closing couplet "Campus" and "Oxford Comma," Vampire Weekend is impossible to deny.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Vampire Weekend
ACL Music Fest 2013 Friday Reviews
Vampire Weekend
Modern Vampires of the City (Record Review)

Austin Powell, Oct. 4, 2013

Phases & Stages
Vampire Weekend
Contra (Record Review)

Austin Powell, Feb. 5, 2010

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Austin Powell
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
What we’re playing

July 31, 2020

Record Review: The Young
Record Review: The Young

Aug. 22, 2014


Vampire Weekend

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle