The Troxy is something of an odd venue, a former East London cinema/theatre that now hosts live music, weddings and mixed martial arts. Similarly, Vampire Weekend's latest venture to the UK was slightly odd, jetting in for the solitary live public gig. Not that the band held back on the night, delighting the sell-out crowd with a string of hits, as well as previewing the occasional new song from their shortly arriving third album.
The night was seemingly full of curiosities, with Syd Arthur - a band with a reasonably heavy psychedelic disposition - asked to support Vampire Weekend, whose audience seemed to consist mostly of teenage indie kids. Perhaps not well thought through. Syd Arthur delivered their fare competently, and I was most intrigued upon the appearance of the occasional violin and post-rock interlude, such as on 'Edge On Earth'.
Unfortunately, neither myself nor Rajan FG felt consistently interested in Syd Arthur, although a newly announced support slot for Paul Weller suggests a band significantly on the rise. Despite relative misgivings, I do feel a tad disappointed when there's only one support band at a fairly expensive (£30-odd) gig but it did allow for an extended Vampire Weekend set, taking in around twenty songs - thankfully mostly from the excellent back catalogue.
Launching into a raucous offering of 'Cousins' set the tone for a gig that proved considerably sweaty - providing perhaps one of the only downsides of this concert, with the rather potent post-gig stench. The music of Vampire Weekend has proven to be dance-inducing and such was the case with the majority of the set, with only the more considered and less familiar new tracks slowing down the momentum.
Not that these new tracks are lacking in their own groove, albeit finding a strangely stately vibe, particularly in the piano section of 'Step'. Other new album tracks 'Ya-Hey' and 'Diane Young' suggest that the anthemic elements of the outfit, drowning the audience in catchy hooks. Speaking of grooves, massive shout out to bassist Chris Baio, perpetually busting a groove and clearly enjoying the evening. Something echoed by the audience.
The fun came to something of an abrupt stop, following an unsurprisingly bombastic version of 'Giving Up The Gun', allowing for an obviously choreographed encore. (A practice I'd like to discourage, where possible.) Indeed, the four song encore seemed a little on the ridiculous side but finished superbly with 'Walcott', another track from the classic debut. If you can catch Vampire Weekend at a summer festival, you are in for quite the treat.
Find more info on Syd Arthur at sydarthur.co.uk, and Vampire Weekend at vampireweekend.com.