Stereotypical rock star behavior includes destroying hotel rooms and smashing guitars, not apologizing to the crowd. When Vampire Weekend played at The Joint last night, they spent most of their time in between songs addressing their lack of material and promising that they’ll be bringing more the next time they visit Vegas. The fledgling band currently only has their self-titled album to draw from, but that didn’t stop them from introducing a few new tunes to the crowd, who eagerly lapped up the new sounds.
Generally, Vampire Weekend played it safe. They opened the show with the popular “Mansard Roof” followed by several of their more widely known tracks before introducing the new song “White Sky.” The song included what sounded like a mandolin track, though it must have been pre-recorded, and also featured singer Ezra Koenig crooning what could be mistaken for a bird mating call. Perhaps the group of ex-Columbia students has spent too much time in Central Park communing with the pigeons.
One of the benefits of seeing a relatively new band hitting it big is their totally genuine reaction to fans. Lead singer Koenig’s face lit up when the crowd cheered at the opening chords of the band’s peppy hit “A-Punk.” It’s refreshing to see a band that looks surprised when their music has such a following. Vampire Weekend would return to Vegas, Koenig promised, next time with a new album that should be out by the end of the school year and much more material.
But this time around, I thought they might have been bold enough to throw in a couple of covers. I was shocked and excited when my ears registered the iconic staccato opening of Ozzy’s “Crazy Train,” but alas, it was only the backing bass line to “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance.” Rather than plump their set with a few well-selected songs from other bands, Vampire Weekend stuck to their own stuff, sprinting through the show in an hour flat. But while “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance” turned out not to be the cover I was hoping for, the song may have been the band’s shining moment. The driving bass of Chris Baio coupled with Koenig’s falsetto and animated facial expressions made for an interesting performance. Vegas should welcome them back with open arms when they return with more material. So relax, Vampire Weekend, we know you’re working with what you have; apology accepted.