Pictures: Vampire Weekend at Merriweather Post Pavilion Sept. 11
One line of the review in particular riled them up, where I say the boys are dangerously close to becoming "that band lots of white people like." Enough commenters called it racially insensitive that I feel i should say something about it. Insensitive? Far from it. As a couple of readers pointed out, it's a reference to the popular satirical book and blog "Stuff White People Like."
Still, I wonder if i should have taken it out because it distracted readers from what the review said: that for a band that bills itself as preppy punks, their show is as punk as The Jonas Brothers'. That's not breaking news, folks.
It's vox populi that "Vampire Weekend" and "Contra" are the soundtrack to teenage privileged angst. And that's fine. There's clearly an audience for that, and there should be. But a review isn't supposed to cater to the fans; on the contrary, it's supposed to inform future ticket buyers what they might get for their buck.
With Koenig and Co. you don't get a rock show, you get something mellower, more relaxed, as limp as al dente pasta. Their sound is just as accessible as Justin Bieber's - or Katy Perry's, or Pink's, or any number of top 40 artists - yet they're written off as downmarket, less edgy, uncool.
What struck me about the show is that, for all their accolades, there's really no distinction between the two. They're both equally adorable, though maybe Bieber embraces his mass appeal with more panache.
I also wrote the review after having interviewed singer/songwriter Jimmy Webb, the man behind classics like "Wichita Lineman" and "By the Time I get to Phoenix." And for a man who could be easily dismissed as "stuff white people like," Webb was candid and forceful on everything from the record industry's failing business model to illegal music downloads.
My point is, readers mistook my shots at Vampire Weekend's stage reticence for a preference for showmanship and loudness. And yet, Webb's music, for all its frailty, is anything but complacent. [Check out Live! Friday for his profile].
Anyway, I'm new in town, so better than get on the wrong foot with the very appreciated local readership, I have a peace offering: a great-looking photo gallery of Saturday night's show from contributing photographer Josh Sisk.
Pictures: Vampire Weekend at Merriweather Post Pavilion Sept. 11.