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Vampire Weekend Waves Goodbye to Polite Punk

Rock band creates an intimate setting before tearing it down.

Vampire Weekend

Photo by Mia Nguyen


It’s 2007, you're bobbing your head to indie anthem “A-Punk”, reveling in Vampire Weekend’s simultaneously comforting and electrifying tunes. It’s not 2007 anymore and the band continues to console preppy punk lovers in their 2024 "Only God Was Above Us" sold-out tour stop at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory in Irving, June 7. 


While plenty of longtime fans stood pressed against the barricade donning worn Vampire Weekend t-shirts that any Hot Topic shopper or Tumblr user could recognize, the show was opened by LA LOM. The openers brought the romance of 60s Latin America boleros mixed with the charisma of old Hollywood stardom.


LA LOM

Photo by Mia Nguyen


While most concerts begin with a flash of dramatic lighting, Vampire Weekend’s set began with almost angelic white lights spanning across the stage, a simple black curtain with plain print of the band’s name spanning across the minimally decorated stage. While lacking the typical rockstar swagger, front man Ezra Koenig oozed the quiet charisma of a boyfriend mothers' love as he waltzed onto stage, gently strumming his guitar to “Hold you Know.” 


Vampire Weekend

Photo by Mia Nguyen


As an ode to the golden days of the band, the opening song discusses growth, and the nostalgia and growing pains that follow suit. Koeing sings, “I did my best and all the rest is hidden by the clouds” as the other two original band members, drummer Chris Tomson and bassist Chris Baio make their way to their instruments. The leisurely opening can only be described as the calm before the storm, emphasizing Ezra’s soothing vocals and the band’s familiar chemistry.


After earning the audiences' longing puppy eyes and sighs of nostalgia, the band picked up the pace considerably, playing "Mansard Roof." The poppy rhythms and the band's energetic performance juxtapose Koeing's subtle but articulate jabs at elitism and imperialism. During this performance, one of Tomson's cymbals went flying in the midst of his fervent playing. After a failed attempt at catching the fallen piece, he let out a hearty laugh, continuing the song. Koeing immediately caught wind of the incident, laughing with his band mate.


Vampire Weekend

Photo by Mia Nguyen


This song was Vampire Weekend's first released single, transporting viewers into a simpler time of IPods and absurdly low waisted jeans. Following "Mansard Roof," Koeing took a brief second to shout out his Fort Worth native cousins, before jumping into ultra catchy track "Cousins."


The plain stage décor and focus on the core three band members emphasized a type of boyish charm expected to fade from seasoned musicians. Each member's personalities are easily perceived by viewers, from Koeing's soulful gaze, Tomson's easy laughter and Baio's visceral passion as his legs squirmed with each strum of his bass. It would have been sad to forgo this intimate performance if not for the shock of the black curtain soaring down, revealing the full touring band set with a multitude of instruments such as the saxophone and keyboard. The simple stage suddenly was a cinematic flood of blue hues with a campy stage crew donning brightly colored safety gear, earning surprised shrieks from overjoyed fans.


A seemingly personal glance into the energies of three musicians who followed many fans from angsty adolescence to adulthood was completely amplified by the stage reveal that was on par with a fever dream. It was like the band was directly telling audiences not to get too comfortable with their previous sound and vibe. Irving fans now know better than to expect an average Saturday with Vampire Weekend.


Vampire Weekend

Photo by Mia Nguyen


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