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Vampire Weekend – Glasgow ABC

There’s a great scene in the movie ‘Donnie Brasco’ when Donnie is asked by his FBI colleagues what ‘forget about it’ means, as it’s a phrase he keeps hearing when he is listening in to Mob conversations. He replies “Forget about it” is like if you agree with someone, you know, like “Raquel Welsh is one great piece of ass forget about it.” But then, if you disagree, like “A Lincoln is better than a Cadillac? Forget about it!” you know? But then, it’s also like if something’s the greatest thing in the world, like Mingrio’s Peppers, “forget about it.” But it’s also like saying “Go to hell!” too. Like, you know, like “Hey Paulie, you got a one inch pecker?” and Paulie says “Forget about it!” Sometimes it just means forget about it. ”

In Glasgow, we have our own equivalent phrase, the quintesentially Scottish ‘it’s not bad.’ It can mean something is great – ‘what do you think of The Beatles?’ ‘They’re not bad.’ It can mean terrible – ‘how do I look honey?’ ‘Not bad love.’ It can, basically, mean anything you want it to mean.

Why am I telling you this? Well, Vampire Weekend live are the gamut of ‘not bad’. It’s a sold out, Bank Holiday crowd in for their poly-rhythmic, jerking pop. It’s a short set, more through necessity than anything else – even adding two new songs into the set and playing most of their debut album, they struggle to break 50 minutes. The set is fine – tight, energetic and bright. The problem is that it’s clear that Vampire Weekend have missed a key part of their live apprenticeship. They have gone from support act to headlining 2,000 capacity venues, and some of the songs in this setting sound stillborn. There are a lot of tracks which simply sound like carbon copies of their recorded brothers. Again, this isn’t the band’s fault, it’s just that the songs simply haven’t had a chance to establish their own live personas.

‘A-Punk’ is typically wonderful, and ‘Oxford Comma’ is a fitting ending, getting even the most sullen white boy dancing. Overall, it’s hard to complain about a gig costing a tenner, and delivered by such a nice bunch of boys (you fundamentally would not have to lock up your daughters when they were around. Your maths textbooks, maybe.) They certainly come across as likeable, even if they annoy this writer by not playing his favourite (the awesome ‘The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance’ – grrrr!) It’s absolutely clear that they have so much vitality, so many ideas and they look set to be a band who will deliver album after album of top notch music.

In the end, Vampire Weekend are not bad. But in this case, it’s the literal meaning.

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4 Responses

  1. They sound like The Police without the funk.
    I can’t stand em.

    I’m not trying to be the central troll of your blog, by the way.

  2. Can I also pipe up here and state my dislike for VW?
    They’re a load of old cock.

  3. Troll away. It’s all good.

    All are welcome.

    Feel free to tell your friends how great we are!!

  4. Ah, but the Police had Sting in them, so that makes them worse. Nabokov/Shake and cough? What was he thinking, the perenially humping tool?

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