Where: Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
When: June, 15, 2019
Itâs was a hot, hot night in Cincinnati.
So hot it makes you wonder just how Chicano Batman can keep so cool on stage, suits and all, but thatâs their signature look, and it evokes an old school vibe. A vibe that the Los Angeles, CA-based group carries over into their unique funk-rockâtropical-soul sound. Itâs something you canât help but dance to, a fact the crowd made evident rocking, swaying, and jumping around.
With as much fun as the crowd was having itâs near impossible to not see that lead singer Bardo Martinez is having just as much on stage with an infectious smile that lasted the whole night long. Thatâs not to say the rest of the guys arenât having a blast either, everyone shares the spotlight, these guys are like family on stage. No greater example is when drummer, Gabriel Villa, has his solo the rest of the group take a seat. Literally. Everyone gets down low so that single-member stands (or sits) higher on the stage that El Drumero himself. All told their songs, which occasionally transition from English to Spanish in the most beautiful of ways, strike a chord (no pun intended) with the audience.
This night, âitâs not that serious.â Or so the, now slightly more mature, gentlemen of Vampire Weekend would have you believe. They all looked like they were having the time of their lives on stage and did not skip a beat entering the midway point on the first leg of their tour at Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati, OH. But back to it not being that serious, that line is part of the intro to âSympathy,â the opening track for the eveningâs festivities. Itâs a new one-off of their recently released 4th, and third consecutive number 1, an album titled Father of the Bride. And thatâs where it starts. Itâs not long after the lights dim and the whole gang walks out that frontman Ezra Koenig bites his tongue as he locks in his guitar strap, knowing just how to rock this town. The quirky beat starts along with the immediate cheers and screams from the crowd, youâd think Vampire Weekend hasnât been around the last 6 years or something. Yes.
From âSympathyâ to something off their eponymous debut studio album, âCape Cod Kwassa Kwassa,â and, letâs be honest, how could you not go crazy for that from the second you hear the first chord?! But then again that with a decade-plus long run and being indie rockâs darlings we all know these songs. Even if you donât know that you know it. CCKK, to âUnbelievers,â to âThis Life,â and âSunflower.â Dear, oh dear, âSunflower,â how we love thee! The way the crowd swayed to this one, soaking up the sound waves, taking up that space.
As far as youâd be able to tell from the sounds the crowd is making there isnât a single song everyone does not know. Pay close attention though youâll notice the number of people transfixed on bass player Chris Baioâs infectious dance moves. The man does not have the ability to stop his hips. From there we keep moving through the catalog to âHorchataâ along with 2 of the singles off Father of the Bride in âBig Blueâ and âHarmony Hall.â You start to wonder what songs they havenât played yet, and then the next block of songs hits. Starting with âDiane Young,â followed by âCousins,â then âA-Punk,â and last but not least, everyoneâs favorite song mentioning Lil Jon, âOxford Comma.â
The energy really was electric, and not just because of the on again off again storm over Riverbend, but as the music halted and Vampire Weekend walked off stage the crowd knew that wasnât all they had in store for us. A handful more songs, including a request from the crowd, something VW has been doing at each show with fans sporting the sweet bucket hat look at the barricade, and we all knew the night was coming to a close. The final song of the night was âWalcott,â a rambunctious song off of their self-titled debut all the way back in 2008. It was a perfect choice to finally wrap up with evening. With itâs upbeat, snappy sound along with some crazy finger work on the piano, and Ezraâs voice near screaming the lyrics in a way you never would hear on the album. The lights dim, the music stops, and just as quick as it all began it had come to an end. Walcott, donât you know that this night was insane?
You can catch Vampire Weekend when their U.S. tour starts up again on August 16 th and continues throughout October. But if you just canât wait until then you can catch them in Detroit on July 27th when they headline MOPOP Festival!
Post and photos by David Painter
Did you attend this tour? Comment below.
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