Review and Photos by ALYSON CAMUS
The Libbey Bowl is a cute and intimate place, located 90 minutes north of Los Angeles. It may have initially seemed to be a strange choice for Vampire Weekend to pick for a comeback, but it turned out to be a great one, the happy fans could see their favorite band up close and personal.
And it got quite personal with frontman Ezra Koenig often dialoguing with those in the front rows, debating whether bonus track “Giant” was on Spotify or not, and whether they knew “Ladies of Cambridge”… a B-side of “Mansard Roof?”
Vampire Weekend Raises Funds
The Ojai location made much more sense a bit later when Koenig explained that they were raising money (by selling shirts) for Upper Ojai Relief as the area has recently experienced one of the worst fires in California history. The band is also going to match donations up to $10,000 for the 805 UndocuFund.
The UndocuFund is described as “a collective effort among Ventura and Santa Barbara County-based grassroots organizations to assist local undocumented immigrant individuals and families who have been economically impacted by the Thomas Fire and the mudslides in its aftermath and are excluded from many relief programs such as FEMA assistance and Disaster Unemployment Assistance.”
Good Cause on a Sunday Morning
Beside the good cause, the concert was a Sunday morning delight that started with the appropriate VW cover, ‘Sunday morning’, to continue with the moving Xmas-hymn-like “Obvious Bicycle,” with a “Listen ooo-ooo” chorus sung by 1,000 fans at unison, but suddenly spiced up by Brian Robert Jones’s funky guitar. He had apparently filled the shoes of Rostam Batmanglij, who left the band in 2016 to pursue a solo career, and this may have been the best way to give an end to the bad internet meme saying that Vampire Weekend is the “whitest band in the world.”
Since it’s been four years since Vampire Weekend’s last album, everyone expected new material which only came as a snippet of a new song called “Flower Moon,” played by Koenig on guitar, while explaining it also featured Steve Lacy.
There were two special guests, Despot who rapped over ‘Step’ and actress and singer Amandla Stenberg, who played violin during the two songs of the encore, harmonizing with Ezra on ‘I Think Ur a Contra.”
Sunday Morning (Velvet Underground) to Obvious Bicycle to Son of a Preacher Man (Dusty Springfield)
Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa
Here Comes the Sun (Beatles)
Ladies of Cambridge
Sister of Pearl (Baio)
(Extended) White Sky
Flower Moon (new song)
Step (Remix with Despot)
2 x A-Punk (2nd time with kids)
I Got The (Labi Siffre) àMansard RoofàI Got The
I Think Ur a Contra (with Amandla Stenberg)
Video courtesy of Ampeeps: