Long live rock, I need it every night

Sunday, April 04, 2010

VW Fuss

Vampire Weekend - Saturday, April 3rd - Constitution Hall DAR - $30+

Jimbromski joined me for an intimate night with Vampire Weekend on Saturday. We both felt as vulnerable as Abe Lincoln, sitting in the box just off the stage, but I can't complain about that really. Comfortable and close. It matched the comfort in which we traveled to the venue (minivan cab ride). I've already gone on and on about how much I detest seeing concerts at DAR on this site, and I'll do a little of that again here, but being close helps a lot.

Here's some video I took from our vantage point:

Sure VW sold a lot of tickets for Saturday's show, but I don't think they did themselves any favors playing DAR as opposed to the 930. They seemed slightly disappointed with the reaction from the crowd, encouraging more dancing, clapping, singing, fawning, even fist pumping. If the crowd wants to fist pump, it probably would take some coaxing, but clapping, singing along, moving. at. all. - these are not new ideas to us, thank you. But I am less likely to do any of them at Constitution Hall. It's just too big and somewhat isolating, leaving me all the more exposed. Anyhow, the space is better suited for a high school assembly than a rock show. Spoon could sell out Constitution Hall. Easily. But for whatever reason, they don't perform there, and we are all the better for it.

VW is certainly a different animal than when we saw them in February of 2008 at the Rock n Roll Hotel. Seeing them performing to high schoolers and their parents this weekend made for a more mainstream experience; not surprising and probably inevitable. But they seemed a little more Disney and a little less rock and roll.

My favorite tune of the night was "Cousins," the first single released from Contra. The song itself pushes all of the right buttons for me, but Ezra Koenig's edgy guitar and Chris Tomson's drumming at the end had just the right crash to disturb and rouse. Here's a great video shot by Diarrhea Island's Marianne to illustrate (actually, Marianne has lots of great stuff to check out from the show):

Despite what I said above, the crowd was wild with appreciation, just not very demonstrative beyond the applause and cheers after each song. Not all that unusual for a DC show, but VW could have had the floor jumping if it were at a better space.

After the show, Jimbromski and I checked out the Goth scene at "Recessions" downtown. Come to find out, they have an ongoing scene offered via Spellbound. Okay, so we actually just looked on from next door as the Goths gathered outside of Recessions. One of them raced back and forth across traffic for some reason demonstrating just how on the edge these folks live (while avoiding the light of day). Vampire Freakend.

I don't imagine I'll be going to see VW again, unless they played a venue like the 930 club or a larger festival where I can lounge outside and see a bunch of other bands too. Saturday's performance was solid, and maybe it's just my middle age flaring up again, but I don't watch Nickelodeon for a reason, and it's the same reason I'll leave future VW shows to the young and the Reston.


Jimbromski said...

Should have gone with my post title: Vampire Weakened

A good show but there's nothing indie about these guys anymore, they're a massive band with a demo far removed from me and mine. Good for them. That said they came off as a pretty soft group.

The goth guy who played dodgem' in traffic was wearing a tunic.

Potsy said...

No doubt you had a better title. I wish I had thought of it, but I knew it would make it up here somehow.

Tunic? Is that what he wore? I honestly don't know the difference between a tunic and a toga.

Steve said...

Where did Spoon play in DC this time around? 9:30?

Sadly, when they were here they played Chicago's version of DAR -- Aragon Ballroom. It's not seated, but that's about the only real difference. It's way too big and impersonal, and the sound is pretty awful.

Potsy said...

Yeah, Spoon played two nights at the 930 club. I saw night #2 and it was excellent. The thought of them playing DAR is almost depressing. Next stop, "at ease" weekend at Lindberg Air Force Base.