New York quartet Vampire Weekend, formed just four years ago, returned to Milwaukee Tuesday night for its second show in Brew City. The first was about a year and a half ago at Turner Hall Ballroom.
Since the show at the much larger Riverside last night was sold out, it's clear that VW's popularity has notched up since that first appearance. Also during that time, the band issued its second disc, "Contra," which rather than being a departure for the band, simply solidified its winning mix of alt.pop and African influences.
I tweeted from the show and here are my tweets -- in case you missed 'em -- along with some additional commentary. If you want to follow me on Twitter, find me at twitter.com/BobbyOnMKEcom.
BobbyOnMKEcom The #vampireweekend crowd is large and quite youthful. (I was surprised to see that the crowd looked like a lot of high school-age kids, mixed -- unsurprisingly -- with a heavily college crowd and a few gen x'ers.)
BobbyOnMKEcom Pregig music at #vampireweekend transports me to The Tunnel in NYC circa 1986. (All night long the house music was an unusual mix of dance music, old soul, reggae and other stuff.)
BobbyOnMKEcom #abevigoda is onstage and he looks more spry than ever. But let's face it, he's no Jack Soo. (Sorry, can never help referencing my dad's favorite character on his favorite show, "Barney Miller.)
BobbyOnMKEcom #abevigoda has heard The Cure. But that's ok, who doesn't like The Cure? (Los Angeles quartet Abe Vigoda opened the show and the tortured vocals and tribal drums conjured The Cure's "Pornography" even if the guitars were never as cutting as Robert Smith's on that record.)
BobbyOnMKEcom My friend sez #abevigoda recalls Armoury Show, Icicle Works, Wire Train and Modern English. I don't think the sound is doing them any favors. (Abe Vigoda is firmly rooted in an early '80s musical revival that has been in swing for a few years now.)
PabstTheater Totally digging Abe Vigoda.
BobbyOnMKEcom @PabstTheater In the balcony it's hard to grasp the subtleties. They were good but I suspect they're better than they sounded from up here. (Abe Vigoda's sound was pretty muddy upstairs. I can't vouch for how it sounded on the floor.)
BobbyOnMKEcom The Riverside is rockin' Duran Duran. Saw them open for Split Enz at the Pier on NYC on "Rio" tour. Oh yeah! (More of that quirky playlist during the break.)
BobbyOnMKEcom From Duran Duran to the Honey Cone. Crazy playlist! ("Girls on Film" and"Girls It Ain't Easy.")
BobbyOnMKEcom Showtime at #vampireweekend. (The lights go down and for the first time, the roar of the crowd shakes the chandeliers.)
BobbyOnMKEcom #vampireweekend on stage. twitpic.com/1ajkgt.
BobbyOnMKEcom Though they lack a goddess-like Tina Weymouth #vampireweekend reminds me of T(alking) Heads for a number of reasons. (The herky jerky pop mixed with fluid African influences, the distinctive lead singer with a guitar style that occasionally calls to mind the playing on songs like "Pulled Up.")
BobbyOnMKEcom #vampireweekend travels with its own chandeliers. twitpic.com/1ajljo. (A quintet of chandeliers is lowered from the rigging above the stage and they serve as accent lighting for the rest of the night. Later, when singer Ezra Koenig comments that the Riverside has a beautiful chandelier, we know he knows of what he speaks.)
BobbyOnMKEcom Riverside is sold out and you can hear it in the roar that rises after each #vampireweekend song.
BobbyOnMKEcom Time for the Blake's got a new face call and response at #vampireweekend. (The crowd is more than eager to sing along.)
BobbyOnMKEcom #vampireweekend has pushed the "reggae" button on the Casio with pleasant results. (That song? "Diplomat's Son," of course.)
BobbyOnMKEcom "Oxford Comma" and the #vampireweekend set is over. Encore? ("Oxford Comma" was performed as something of a medley with "Campus.")
BobbyOnMKEcom Yes, Virginia, #vampireweekend is doing an encore. But dang please turn off those harsh spotlights aimed at the crowd.
BobbyOnMKEcom #vampireweekend encore: "Horchata," "A-punk" and "Cape Cod Kwassa." (I misspoke here. The encore had "Walcott," not "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa," which actually came earlier in the show.)
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.