The Vampire Weekend that arrived at Merriweather in support of their latest album Father of the Bride is a much different beast than the one that broke out of Columbia University parties in the late 2000s. Gone is longtime guitarist/producer Rostam Batmanglijk, now carving out his own path in the music world. It's largely The Ezra Koenig Show at this point, but Vampire Weekend’s live show now includes an impressive seven-piece band bringing old and new favorites to life.
Koenig is still ever the chill frontman, so his co-conspirators - Touring guitarist Brian Robert Jones and longtime bassist Chris Baio were easily having the most fun on stage - deserve most of the credit for setting an energetic tone for the night. Jones laid down intricate solos on "Sunflower" and even an unexpected cover of SBTRKT's "NEW DORP, NEW YORK" (which featured Koenig on vocals). Baio, for his part, couldn't stop shaking his hips and flailing on stage for practically every song. In addition to the SBTRKT cover, the band brought a few more surprises in the form of requests ("Hannah Hunt" and "Diplomat's Son" mixed with snippets of Toots and the Maytals' "Pressure Drop") and homages (a cover of The Doors' "Peace Frog" in honor of them playing the storied venue 50 years ago).
Vampire Weekend's latest album Father of the Bride is out now through Columbia Records.
Opening for Vampire Weekend was blues guitarist Christone "Kingfish" Ingram, who stunned the crowd with blistering guitar solos. He also reframed contemporary hits like Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" into a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Hey Joe." It's no surprise that he's played with the likes of Buddy Guy - he's already the real deal at just 20 years old. His debut album Kingfish is out now through Alligator Records.