LIVE, IN PHOTOS: Vampire Weekend’s “Father of the Bride” Tour Hits Chicago’s Northerly Island
The band rolled into the Windy City for a foggy Father’s Day celebration.
After scoring their third consecutive number one album with Father of the Bride (it’s their first in six years), fans are celebrating the triumphant return of Vampire Weekend.
Despite winning the Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album with their last, 2013’s Modern Vampires of the City, the band’s direction remained in question when Rostam Batmanglij (one of two main songwriters, along with Ezra Koenig) announced he was amicably leaving the group in early 2016. Despite Koenig simultaneously confirming the band’s fourth LP was still moving forward with the working title Mitsubishi Macchiato, what form that would take remained largely a mystery.
Trading in crewnecks for tie-dye, Vampire Weekend has emerged with a decidedly more jam-inspired missive. Debuting their new touring lineup at a Father’s Day show in Ojai, California, one year ago, additions like guitarist Brian Robert Jones from Human Natural and Springtime Carnivore’s Greta Morgan have granted the indie stalwarts a magic new satchel of tricks to pull from. Jones’ intricate guitar solos and Morgan’s affectionate vocals make for many of the sets’ highlights.
During Vampire Weekend’s last visit in August, they opened their Lollapalooza headlining set like a broken iPod, playing “A-Punk” three times in a row, a memory Ezra looked back upon fondly this night. At a Lolla aftershow at the Metro the same weekend, the band played one of the fest’s best sets and revealed portions of their upcoming album, in a section marked in the setlist as “new album stuntin’.”
Opening the night at Northerly Island in front of a giant inflatable globe, Koenig and company began with FotB’s “Bambina,” playing the majority of the double album’s tracks including “Sunflower,” “Harmony Hall,” and “2021” to a crowd of seventeen thousand people.
Despite deep-cut covers that have been featured on the tour, like Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” and the Parks & Rec theme during their song “M79” at a recent show in Indianapolis (Rashida Jones, one of the series’ stars, and Koenig are romantically linked and recently welcomed a child), this night the band chose a more straightforward salute, presenting Paul Simon’s “Late in the Evening.” Acknowledging that many have compared the band’s 2008 self-titled debut to Simon’s Graceland, Koenig admitted that while he agrees, only two of their songs remind him of Simon tracks.
Returning to the stage for a six-song encore, the band played fan requests “Ladies of Cambridge” and “One (Blake’s Got a New Face).” As they closed the night with an energetic rendition of “Walcott,” summer vibes washed over the beachfront venue.
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