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Review: Vampire Weekend at Verizon Theatre

Posted 9:07am on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013

It is odd to think of Vampire Weekend as elder statesmen.

Yet, three albums and seven years into its career, the New York City quartet’s precocity has mellowed into polished professionalism.

Not that Ezra Koenig and his bandmates ever came off as anything less than utterly precise, but there’s a businesslike air about them that wasn’t evident even three years ago, on VW’s last trip through North Texas (and, weirdly, where I unwittingly guessed the site of their next performance here).

Over the course of roughly 80 minutes Thursday night, Vampire Weekend treated the enthusiastic crowd assembled at Verizon Theatre (where the uppermost reaches were curtained off) to an almost manic set blending the full breadth of the foursome’s catalog, including several selections from this year’s wonderful Modern Vampires of the City.

The four men careened from percolating Afro-pop ( Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa) to a digitally manipulated rave-up ( Diane Young), making the shift feel fluid, rather than jarring. Too often, bands segregate the newer material from the older, making it obvious that the fresh songs are being performed more out of obligation than desire.

Vampire Weekend, to its credit, made the whole evening feel of a piece, despite a tune like A-Punk not resembling a tune like Ya Hey in the slightest.

The stage design was surprisingly subtle — suspended Doric columns with spotlights attached, and a simple mirror/video screen backdrop with a tasteful fabric scrim behind that — and fit snugly with the energetic music emanating outward.

It was all very deft and devoid of blemish, until a brief stab of feedback on Koenig’s mic during the unreleased track Ladies of Cambridge. He reacted ever so slightly and carried on with the show.

That slightest of hiccups betrayed the slightly sterile atmosphere Vampire Weekend brought to its performance — the music was engaging, the crowd was cheering after every song, but there was an unshakable sense of arm’s length efficiency stifling the joyous vibe.

Just because you’ve grown up, guys, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with everyone else.

Preston Jones, 817-390-7713 Twitter: @prestonjones

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