Okay, gang. Here's the last set of photos from the festival, as well as, the last post I'll ever do on Vampire Weekend. I'm over them and their music after following their career for a year.
Never before I've seen a band polarize people. When we talk about the band in blog circles, it has to be noted that they were cool when they were unsigned and we can drop their name to look like we're in the know. Then seeing them at Cake Shop and Maxwell's made you feel that you had leg up on the casual indie music fan. Yup, it's the snobbery factor. Then somewhere along the way, they became popular, went on Saturday Night Live, their CD was on sale at Best Buy and Target the first week it was released, they started hanging out with celebrities and then teenagers, frat boys and moms and dads started going to their shows. Before you knew it, listening to them when you're a music snob isn't so fun anymore. The music seems stale and not edgy.
Yes, I whole heartedly admit it's superficial and hypocritical when you stop liking a band because they become popular. As I joke, I was going to name my radio show, I'm Not Playing Vampire Weekend.
When I first saw them at Bowery, Cake Shop and Maxwell's, I thought the music was catchy and different. More importantly, I thought the four of them played very well together. I found myself bopping along to "A-Punk" and "Mansard Roof" and was interested to hear the whole album. I looked around the crowd and saw guys and girls like me -- the people who know indie music inside and out.
On Saturday, I see a band that doesn't much resemble the group I saw last year at this time. I look around I see mall rats, dudes with popped polo shirt collars and screaming 13-year olds fawning overlead singer Ezra Koenig.
One of my commenter summed it up nicely, I think this band is playing up their preppy clothes wearing, Cape Cod party aesthetic too much. When I saw their ridiculous cover shot on SPIN, I rolled my eyes. Then during the set, Ezra looked like he was working to hard to be a rock star when he's trying to get into the music. The one thing that stood out for me is when they played "A-Punk," it sounded like some wedding cover band covering Vampire Weekend. It came off as slow and lazy.
When I saw some kid crowd surfing during the set, I decided that it was over for me. I was standing next to the Love Is All crew and I was tempted to ask if they could close the show instead, so that the day I could end on an up note.
Look, no one should deny a band or artist success and popularity, even at the sacrifice of indie cred. When people are downloading albums for free, Apple is taking a big chunk from song downloads and bands have to tour relentlessly to make money, it's a positive that new bands become successful without some corporate machine manufacturing them. For Vampire Weekend, it just seem that music doesn't warrant the attention. At first, what seemed to be catchy tunes ended up as anthems for Generation Abercrombie & Finch. The new tunes they trotted didn't inspire me at all, just more water-downed pseudo world music versions of basic pop songs.
Again, if you find them dreamy and awesome, more power to you and you are a better person than I am. I wish you many a happy time at their future shows. If you're going to write message of hate towards me because I trashed them, you better come with a decent argument.
On the other hand, I compare my reaction to the success of Vampire Weekend to the success of Kate Nash, Editors, Tings Tings and even Nicole Atkins. Those groups started out small and I was there from the beginning. Then, they became popular, ushering in new fans. You know what, I still love them and the music they create. It's a win-win situation. In the end, not everybody can be like you and me, passionate about the music we listen to and able to catch on to bands before they break though.
As I say, good music deserves to be heard by everyone, even the people we normally don't associate with. Vampire Weekend is just not good music to me.
That's it gang. Rant is now over.