First published on 28 Sep 2010. Updated on 24 Oct 2010.
It’s not just a teenage novel series that’s responsible for a swathe of humans falling in love with vampires. One of the year’s most talked-about bands, the oh-so dapper Vampire Weekend, has listeners falling head over heels in love with its quaint, nerdy tunes one single at a time. Since releasing its self-titled debut album in 2008, the New York four-piece has quickly grown from a quirky indie-rock act playing all-ages shows in skate parks to a name big enough to pack out stadiums around the world.
Frontman Ezra Koenig and bandmates Rostam Batmanglij, Chris Tomson and Chris Baio met at university four years ago, and began recording tunes in their dormitories. They released a few tracks on the internet in 2007 to test the water, and excited bloggers helped send the band’s angular, tribal-cum-orchestral sound viral. Some critics called them an overhyped bunch of preppy chancers, but among indie contemporaries their originality shone through.
Vampire Weekend sold half a million copies in America, while second album Contra, released in January this year, topped the Billboard chart and reached number 3 in the UK – not bad for a group of 25- and 26-year-old guys who just want their audience to be happy.
Koenig has often explained that while his lyrics are not always laden with profound meaning, it’s most important that the melodies and rhythms strike a chord with the crowd. If recent gig reviews are anything to go by, it seems Vampire Weekend does have a remarkable ability to transform its audience into something resembling a tribal fire dance moving through the most fashionable streets of New York: feet tapping, hands clapping and bellowing all the words even though no one, least of all Koenig, knows what they mean. Jacqueline Smith
Vampire Weekend performs at the Esplanade Concert Hall on 26 Oct. See details here.