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Vampire Weekend at the Bowl: Where's the meat?LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - During their nearly 90-minute set Sunday at the Hollywood Bowl, New York-based indie Afro-popsters Vampire Weekend came off like the missing link between 1980s two-hit wonder Haircut 100 and legendary punks the Clash.

Like Haircut 100, Vampire Weekend are a cute bunch of preppy kids who churn out incessantly hummable, energetic tunes. Like Joe Strummer and company, the band plunders world-beat sounds that are likely unfamiliar to their core fan base, save for those who've heard their parents' Paul Simon records.

But one can't knock Vampire Weekend for their musical thievery because the quartet does it so well, and they're open about their influences. They've even paid back the debt by collaborating with and enlisting the Very Best -- fronted by Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya -- as an opening act.

On Sunday, Vampire Weekend took the stage following a brief set by electro-toasting duo the Very Best and Baltimore's Beach House, whose surreal psychedelic drone-pop made VW sound like Justin Bieber by comparison.

Not that Vampire Weekend is as lightweight as the Bieb, but it's hard not to watch the band and wish there was more weighty subject matter on top of their chicken-scratch guitar riffs and skittering Afro-beats. Boyish good-looking frontman Ezra Koenig slid easily from his smooth Paul Simon-like croon into a falsetto in songs like "White Sky," and the band played with bash-'n'-pop exuberance on "Cousins." But throughout the majority of the set, one had to wonder whether there was anything more to Vampire Weekend's songs than a soundtrack for dancing on a warm September night. Halfway through the set, Vampire Weekend finally made a statement with "One (Blake's Got a New Face)," a scathing indictment of plastic surgery that would make a perfect soundtrack selection for a big-screen adaptation of a Bret Easton Ellis novel. Before the tune, Koenig instructed the crowd it was a call-and-response song in which the "appropriate emotion is ecstatic anger."

A keyboard-heavy cover of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm Goin' Down" also showed promise, as did a stretched-out take of "Diplomat's Son," highlighting its reggae rhythms, and the dreamy "I Think Ur a Contra," with bassist Chris Biao on an upright piano and Koenig using revolutionary lingo as a metaphor for personal politics. That sort of potential makes one hopeful Vampire Weekend will develop from a pleasant diversion into a band that truly matters.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 September 2010 06:33
 
(UK)

Newsflash Archive

Yesterday, Dundee guitar band The View released a free track "Sunday" on its official website. The song is a first taste of the band's forthcoming third album, which frontman Kyle Falconer promises will be "more articulate" than previous. Listen to "Sunday" from The View here.

Speaking to Scotland's Daily Record about the album which is scheduled for a spring release, Falconer said, "The new album will sound much cleaner and you'll be able to hear my vocals a lot clearer. It's more articulate."

The Scottish band is probably beat known for its single "Same Jeans." Falconer explained that the new album will be very different from 2007 debut Hats Off to the Buskers and its follow-up Which Bitch? He added, "We were proud of Which Bitch? but it wasn't well received and didn't get played much on radio. We were gutted."

Falconer revealed that his thoughts at the time were, "'We need to get back to the music rather than the craziness'."

Previous albums Hats Off to the Buskers and Which Bitch? were produced by Owen Morris, best known for his work with Oasis and The Verve, but Martin "Youth" Glover, who has made records with the Delays and the Futureheads and was founder member and bassist of UK band Killing Joke, has been chosen to produce the third album.

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