Vampire Weekend frontman, Ezra Koenig, plays guitar and sings for a sold out crowd in Austin, Texas. Koenig has short, wavy hair and is wearing shorts with a sweater.

On Holiday with Vampire Weekend

By Tania Zapien
Music Journalist

Indie-rock’s beloved, Vampire Weekend, made their return to the music scene this summer with the release of their fourth album titled Father of the Bride. The album, released on May 3, captivated music critics and fans alike by showcasing a more mature, intricate and soulful side of a band previously known for electric festival anthems. This conceptually grasping album was introduced with the catchy single “Harmony Hall” which blends melodic guitars, percussive effects and Ezra Koenig’s soothing vocals to perfection.

What stood out to me about this and its follow up single “This Life”, was their lightheartedness. Contagiously carefree, these happy-go-lucky tunes are perfect for a “picnic blanket on the floor and feel the grass between your toes” kind of summer afternoon. Following that same theme and one of my favorites on this 16 track album, is track six,“How Long?” A colorful song full of piano accents, fun drum beats, and echoing background vocals, tied together with a simple yet captivating bass line. At the top of my list however, is “Unbearably White”. This brilliantly vulnerable, slower tune is lyrically and musically the most mature track on “FOTB”, capable of tugging on your heartstrings all while keeping the playful, experimental elements that make up Vampire Weekend’s distinctive sound. 

Vampire Weekend touring guitarist, Brian Robert Jones, shares a smile with band mates on stage.
Brian Robert Jones, new Vampire Weekend touring guitarist performs in front of a sold-out crowd in Austin. Photo by Tania Zapien

Shortly after their anticipated release, the New York natives hit the road, bringing their blissful masterpiece to cities across the U.S in their Father of The Bride Tour. The tour included two sold-out nights at The Moody Theater in Austin, Aug. 20 and 21, in addition to a taping for the 45th Season of Austin City Limits Live on Aug. 22. It had been nearly six years since Vampire Weekend released an album and just as long since they had made their way to the “Live Music Capital of the World.” To say the least, it was a big deal.

Vampire Weekend, kicked off night two at the Moody Theater with their classic, “Holiday”, followed by old fan favorite, “Ladies of Cambridge”. Wednesday night’s setlist gave fans just the right dose of nostalgia, while perfectly weaving in and out of old and new tunes, making way for new instant classics. “Sunflower”, one from their new album, stood out dramatically for the epic breakdown at the end. This song proved the musicianship and versatility of the band and let them single handedly reclaim the throne as indie royalty. The highlight of the night however, came about halfway through their two hour set, when they jammed “Diane Young” “Cousins” and “A-Punk” back-to-back, getting every single body out of their seat. Like their album, the overall energy of the show was lighthearted and mature, with a sprinkle of young, naive fun.

Front row of fans smiling, dancing and singing as they welcome Vampire Weekend to the stage. All wearing VW gear and snapping pictures and videos on their phones.
Front row fans glow at the first sight of Vampire Weekend taking the stage for night two at the Moody Theater in Austin on Aug. 22. Photo by Tania Zapien

Genuinely full of heart as they are entertaining, Vampire Weekend is back and better than ever. Make sure to stream “Father of the Bride”, which is available on all music platforms, and keep an eye out for future tour dates. You can expect these guys to be around the festival scene later this year and in 2020.

Featured image by Tania Zapien

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