Published Aug 28, 2010Vampire Weekend are currently facing a $2 million lawsuit from the model who appears on the cover of their latest album, Contra, but those legal troubles didn't seem to be weighing down on them when they rolled into town for the first of two sold-out shows at Stanley Park's Malkin Bowl.
With the sun breaking through the trees at the outdoor theatre, the evening kicked off with a set from the fuzz pop outfit Dum Dum Girls. In a live setting, the band's music came across as even darker and more ominous than on record, an impression that was intensified by the four women's black, goth-y outfits.
Beach House followed with a chilled-out set of jangling slow-burners, the duo's haunting songs fleshed out with the addition two supporting musicians. Singer Victoria Legrand was captivating in her wild-eyed intensity, stealing the performance with her stunning vocals that alternated between a sonorous purr and a breathy gasp.
As impressive as the openers were, the audience members reserved their energy for Vampire Weekend, pushing up to the front as the band bounded on stage and kicked off with the upbeat reggae rocker "Holiday." Launching into the electro-inflected "White Sky," drummer Chris Tomsom shimmied on his stool, while bassist Chris Baio performed an odd, skipping dance.
Much of the set emphasized Contra's experimental elements, from frontman Ezra Koenig's Auto-Tuned vocals on "California English" to multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij's woozy wash of keyboards on the eerie "I Think Ur a Contra." The set's highlight, however, was straightforward pulse of the Clash knockoff "A-Punk." As concertgoers jumped and punched their fists during the the song's shouted breaks, it was clear that neither the band nor their fans were going to let a pesky thing like a multimillion dollar lawsuit get in the way of a good time.