It certainly was a sight to behold. The Enmore Sea parted to reveal two households, both alike in dignity (or lack thereof), in fair Sydney where we lay our scene. To the south the street was a sea of black t-shirts. The tattooed, pierced, and generally scary-looking mob paced anxiously outside the Enmore theatre in anticipation of death metal Swedish band Opeth. This was juxtaposed against the gang of preppy, colourful north shore kids lining up on the other side to see indie band Vampire Weekend, with big stupid grins plastered on each and every face.
As a ‘Notes on Enmore’ virgin, I was suitably impressed with the layout and acoustics of the venue. The sound was powerful and well mixed without being loud enough to necessitate earplugs. Although, what’s the deal with no tap beer?
Robbie Buck and the Doctor were the opening act, warming up the crowd by hurling sharp objects at our heads, just to make sure we were paying attention. Then out of nowhere (or more likely a door) Vampire Weekend took to the stage, said a quick hello, and ploughed into their first song with enough energy to power a small country. I have honestly never seen such an enthusiastic start to a set and was immediately curious as to whether they could maintain these energy levels for more than a minute.
The band seemed a little overwhelmed by the crowd response, particularly to Cousins, which was only released a few days before the performance. Did they not realise the dark, horrid, unspeakable things we did in order to secure tickets to this gig? Yes, we are creepy, obsessive fans. Then they started bringing out the big guns, enchanting the crowd with hits from their debut album, M79 and Oxford Comma. Oh, how I wish they had live strings. They made each song seem effortless, although upon closer inspection, the songs that they play aren’t all that complicated. Although skilful musicians, it became clear that their song writing success is based a certain distinctiveness and energy, rather than complexity.
One of the highlights of the evening was definitely the satanic audience input for One (Blake’s Got A New Face). I’d be lying if I said I remembered the entire set list. I was far too busy howling and roaring with the rest of the crowd, hi-fiving my friend Butters, and checking out the hot drummer. The positive energy in that place was enough to make you puke kittens and rainbows. Although we were all keen to see the guys up close, there was no pushing or shoving. Even at the front of the crowd there was enough room to cavort around like a lunatic without pissing people off. There was some sort of mutual understanding that we were all there just to have a good time. Maybe it’s the type of people this band attracts. We were one big, happy vampiric family.
Towards the end of the set the band began reaching out to touch the hands of girls in the front row who were now screaming/crying hysterically. Butters and I wanted to see what the fuss was about so we started poking each other in the face. I don’t see what the big deal is – human contact isn’t really worth screaming about.
Still as energetic as when they began, Vampire Weekend left us with the Afro-pop guitar riffs of Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa and we danced our little hearts out. We all stood there blissfully applauding the empty stage, perhaps unwilling to accept that it was over.