Concert Reviews

Vampire Weekend at Red Rocks, 5/20/13

VAMPIRE WEEKEND @ RED ROCKS | 5/20/13 Last night at Red Rocks, Vampire Weekend showed all the strength that has made it so compelling since the release of its first record five years ago. From Ezra Koenig's effortless falsetto and drummer Chris Tomson's rollicking drum rolls that eerily echo old surf rock to Rostam Batmanglij's multi-tasking between guitar, synth effects and backup vocals, the outfit was all in fine form.

See also: - Slideshow: Vampire Weekend at Red Rocks last night - Review: Vampire Weekend at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 09/3/10 - Justify My Love: Submitting to a Vampire Weekend obsession

The band's new record, Vampires of the City, just dropped about a week ago, and this live outing gave the outfit a chance to spotlight its old and new material at once. That side-by-side structure showed just how much the quartet has come along, even since 2010's Contra. Fresh off the rush of releasing a new record, the band seems confident as it heads into its creative future.

That's not to say that Vampire Weekend shied away from its old material. The set list pulled from the best moments of Vampires of the City and Contra. After coming onto a Red Rocks stage decorated with massive half-segments of Greek columns and an elaborate Victorian mirror, the group played four older tunes -- "Cousins," "White Sky," "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" and "I Stand Corrected."

The performance of "Diane Young," as well as renditions of other tunes from the new record like "Step," "Unbelievers" and "Everlasting Arms," showed the act's impressive growth. Koenig's guitar work was more precise, Tomson's drumming was more refined and Batmanglij's sampling/synth input was downright dizzying. The new material gave durable favorites like "Horchata" and rare gems like "A-Punk" more meaning. The songs from Vampire Weekend added a new dimension to crowd pleasers like "Campus" and "Walcott."

Vampire Weekend is a band that's still pushing their creative boundaries and honing its skills. That much was clear in the range of the setlist, a selection that consisted of less than twenty tunes.

Continue reading for a recap of Of Monsters and Men's set.

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A.H. Goldstein

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