Vampire Weekend at Trinity College, Dublin, on July 1st, 2019
Performing on the grounds of Trinity’s cricket pitch, Vampire Weekend could be forgiven for feeling at home with all three remaining members having earned scholarships to NY’s Anglophilic Ivy League Columbia University.
They played with the WASPy tag that they were receiving from some corners of the press, self-satirising it on their eponymous debut album back in 2008, before refuting it completely on ‘Cousins’ two years later.
Which is where we’re going to begin. During one particularly acceleratory section of the set, Koenig et al managed to recreate the carnival atmosphere felt in the song’s video, one which street parties across Canada celebrating Canada Day could be well proud of.
It was this meticulous curation, as well as the additional touring members’ synergy with the rest of the group that contributed to an altogether more expansive and malleable live performance.
This was expertly demonstrated on several occasions, not least at the beginning. Vampire Weekend decided to hang on a hook with such longevity and distinction, that at 2:18, you half-wish the studio version of Sunflower was reprised.
Immediately after, the band sustained a propulsive beat that played by anyone else, might have seemed aimless and over-ambitious so early during the set but here, kept you dancing along safe in the knowledge that it was leading somewhere. And lead it did, with no other than the infectious cooing White Sky.
Later, during Diplomat’s Son, Koenig, seemingly on a whim, decided to pay homage to one of the many international influences that have informed their sound over the years, by singing the vocals to Pressure Drop by The Maytals.
Elsewhere, there was a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s I’m Goin’ Down, euphoric balladry in the form of Hannah Hunt and an exit so rousing (Walcott), you longed for 2008, if not only to witness this wonderful group’s enjoyable rise all over again.
At a time when far too many of Vampire Weekend’s peers fail to maximise their time onstage, either by racing through hastily put together setlists without much heart, or by filling the gaps with trite crowd interaction, they keep it captivating and inspiring, not only through their exploration of faith and self-image, but also through the humour and accessibility of their references.
Please don’t make us wait another six years though. We don’t give a fuck about an Oxford comma, but Trinity certainly does.