Colombia, Maryland – a planned community, wedged in between D.C. and Baltimore filled with cul-de-sacs, “symphony” woods and a really big mall. Also its home to Merriweather Post Pavilion, the biggest Pavilion in the state of Maryland which served home to some of the biggest names in indie rock last night.
For some reason, I turned against Merriweather in the past few years as my devotion to music grew, despite a pretty cool album being named in honor of it. I don’t know, maybe I just associated it with all of the sort of bad artists who come through there. Not to mention, I’ve been at quite the amount of awesome shows in smaller, more intimate venues (Ottobar, Floristree, etc.) But as I came back to Merriweather, I realized I never really hated the place. Its in a nice location, the lawn’s a pretty cool place, and plus, they have a truck surrounded by a tree, which is pretty cool.
Anyways, Dum Dum Girls started at about 7:30. I saw the girl quartet at the Recher opening for Girls back in April and it was a pretty good show, and nothing musically was wrong with them, but they were the openers for probably the popiest indie group in music right now, and their vibes didn’t really mesh. I guess what I’m trying to say is, a bunch of college lax bros don’t want to hear a revival of ’80s girl bands, with a lo-fi twist.
Following them was Beach House, a band I was particularly excited to see, considering my time with them at Whartscape ended quite abruptly, and that they now had a new 4 person set, adding a bassist/second keyboardist to their traditional guitar, keyboard, drum setup. They also changed the setup of their songs a bit, as noted on their recent iTunes Sessions EP. They played their traditional set, “Gila”, “Zebra” (with the introduction, “this is a cover of our favorite Celine Dion song”), “Walk in the Park”, “Take Care” all included in their set, which got some of the crowd a little bit excited, after a pretty melancholic response to Dum Dum Girls. It was also at this point I decided that I didn’t particularly care for our Pavilion seats, and slid into the pit.
Finally, at around 9:30, Vampire Weekend took the stage to the cue of some rap song I was unable to identify. The crowd, filled with high school girls and college bros suddenly turned their talking into shrieks as Ezra’s boyish charm seemed to do something to the crowd. They quickly started with a rousing rendition of “Holiday” off their sophomoric effort, Contra, and kept winning the crowd over, who left their lawn blankets and seats to stand. My personal highlight of the night was their cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m Goin’ Down” from Born in the U.S.A. Being a pretty hardcore Bruce fan (I’m not ashamed), I was impressed by their effort to turn the song into something of a make out jam (via Beach House). Also, “One (Blake’s Got a Brand New Face)” was quite wonderful, with their drummer clapping his drum sticks together in one of those “raise your zippo lighter” moments. They played psuedo-title track “I Think Yr a Contra” for one of the first times live, which was quite the good slow jam and a selection of their old favorites like “Oxford Comma” and “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa,” the sort of jams that made them famous in the first place. They ended their set, the first one in the state, with quite the rendition of “Walcott” where the entire crowd sang along as Ezra wished to leave “Cape Cod tonight.”
I was incredibly surprised and impressed by the show, and have to give it up to Vampire Weekend, for looking to still be pleased to play shows every night, and somewhat grateful of their rise to fame. Good job Vampire Weekend.
Pictures should be up later in the week from Sarah.