Review: Vampire Weekend and Black Kids live

WFNX's Miracle on Tremont Street, Orpheum Theatre December 7, 2008
By MICHAEL BRODEUR  |  December 9, 2008

081212_vampireweekend_home
QUIET RIOT: On disc, Vampire Weekend are J. Crew in Namibia, but live they’re a fiery, exciting, surprising, dynamic pop-rock force.

Somehow, I ended up with extra tickets for last Sunday's Vampire Weekend show, and I gotta tell you: I couldn't give these things away. "Hate that shit," said a friend, with what felt like specificity. "Yeah . . . no," said another, as though resisting a fatty treat. Finding Vampire Weekend fans is tougher than you'd expect. And despite the squees of just under 3000 of them, you could catch a faint whiff of shame in the air in the Orpheum's lobby — and it wasn't just over the $8 beers.

"On our résumé, we don't have 'incite a riot' " offered Reggie Youngblood, the singer/guitarist of openers Black Kids, after suggesting that audience members rip out their seats and riot. This sort of oddly phrased, unconvincing provocation characterizes much of their work. Youngblood has a squeal as soulful as a housewife spotting a mouse, and his contributions to their bland post-disco ambitions amount to something like Robert Smith stumbling into the Buggles' jam space on his 20th birthday.

Vampire Weekend entered with a prolonged blast of Jay-Z. Note that whereas Black Kids get razzed for casually playing up their (partial) blackness, VW get naked and roll around in their whiteness — and that may be part of what repels so many potential fans. On record, their up-tempo approximation of Graceland's adorable tourism often sounds like something you'd hear at J. Crew's Namibia flagship; but live, they're a fiery, exciting, surprising, dynamic pop-rock force. Opener "Mansard Roof" had the house squealing and stomping; "Oxford Comma" elicited reggae-rock air slaps from selected viewers the likes of which haven't been dealt since — well, since someone last listened to 311 in his or her car. "One (Blake's Got a New Face)" and a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Everywhere" scored high marks for crowd participation. But it was set ender "Walcott" that shook the mezzanine so hard, terrified Orpheum staff had to run around Footloose-style and scold kids for bouncing (even if it was the balcony bouncing them). Hi-larious stuff, but if this is what counts as a riot, Vampire Weekend may be right: "The kids don't stand a chance."

  Topics: Live Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Pop and Rock Music,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY MICHAEL BRODEUR
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   FOLK ACT  |  June 26, 2010
    Vikesh Kapoor
  •   BOSTON PRIDE WEEK: OFF THE MAP  |  June 07, 2010
    We may seem a little cranky, but us local gayfolk just love a parade, and we’re actually heartened by this annual influx of brothers and sisters from every state of New England and every letter of our ever-expanding acronym.  
  •   THE NEW GAY BARS  |  June 02, 2010
    If I may channel the late, great Estelle Getty for a moment: picture it, Provincetown, 2009, a dashing young man with no discernible tan and an iffy T-Mobile signal languishes bored upon the sprawling patio of the Boatslip Resort.
  •   ARIEL PINK’S HAUNTED GRAFFITI | BEFORE TODAY  |  June 01, 2010
    If the gradual polishing of Ariel Pink’s sound — and it’s not all that much more polished — puts his loyalists at odds with his albums, I count that as good news.
  •   MORE THAN HUMAN  |  May 26, 2010
    It’s hard to talk about Janelle Monáe when your jaw’s fallen off.

 See all articles by: MICHAEL BRODEUR