Sunday’s gig at Metro City marked the first time Vampire Weekend had come to Perth, and the last date of their Australian tour. So as to be expected, a good time was had by all. Tickets for the gig had sold out weeks in advance, so anyone without a ticket was going to have to resort to waiting around the line, or simply going without.
The show’s opener were Sydney band, Cloud Control, who incidentally have just released their debut album. They had a bit of a shaky start despite their optimism, but after the first two songs, they started to get more into it and enjoy it all a bit more. Cloud Control were a fun band to watch, and a number of their songs were incredibly catchy, with some lovely little hooks and great lines. They seemed to get a good reception from the crowd, no support act backlash here; indeed this support slot most definitely would have earned themselves some new listeners, myself included. There was some great vocal work from both the lead singer (Alister) and the keyboardist (Heidi), who really had quite a soulful voice when she took on the main vocals for one of the slower numbers. Also, there was something rather twee about the lead singer reading their forthcoming tour dates from a sheet of lined paper – was this how they all did it pre-myspace and internet?
With the crowd suitably warmed up, and after a slight break for the usual microphone checking tomfoolery, on bounded Vampire Weekend launching straight into “White Sky” from their latest album. This largely set the tone for much of the first half the set; upbeat and entertaining, with the crowd there singing along right from the beginning. From the outset, it was clear that this was going to be a great show, a show long overdue, which perhaps explains some of the audience’s excitement and energy. Not only that, but the sound quality was great from where I was on the main floor – no muddiness in the mix, and the vocals were clear and perfect. Early highlights to name only a few were “Cousins” and opener “White Sky”.
The set was broken up a little with a soulful rendition of “I Stand Corrected” being the only song where the energy levels dropped slightly. But it was a welcome change and showed the band’s versatility moving between tempos. This however really did mark the end of the slower numbers; the energy levels soon reaching youthful abandon. Vampire Weekend are a band quite capable of orchestrating mass sing-alongs and shout backs, becoming a bit of a feature of the second half of the set with Koenig calling for audience participation on a number of songs, namely “A-Punk” and “One” (Blakes Got A New Face), the latter featuring some impassioned singing from band and audience alike. The highlights of the second half are too many to mention, though bonding over having a west coast was a nice touch (Cousins) and “Oxford Comma” brought some more sing along moments.
A short break ensued. While I say short, it was long enough to almost cause mutiny in a crowd desperate for more. The encore, when it came, really proved a fitting end to a great show with “Horchata” and “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” getting an outing.
With a band with as many great songs as Vampire Weekend, it was never going to be a bad night. But sometimes those bands you love just never live up to your expectations; so it’s always good when you get a gig like Sundays when the band manages to exceed those expectations. So long for now guys, but please come back soon.