BEING THERE: Vampire Weekend @ The Mann


So I’ve literally played rock shows all over the world and I am here to tell you that as indie-rock venues go, the Skyline Stage at the Mann is peerless in terms of bookings, comfort, price, amenities (food trucks, craft beer, squeaky clean bathrooms with no lines) and mellowed-out asshole-free security. Last night was another enchanted, splendor-in-the-grass evening at the Mann’s Skyline Stage: A cool, clear night, an incandescent harvest moon, an arresting view of the Philly skyline, a Sierra Nevada in hand, snuggling with your baby on a blanket while Vampire Weekend — whose remarkable newish album, Vampires Of The Modern City, is a serious contender for Album Of The Year — provides the soundtrack like we hired them to play our our wedding. Sometime between the first album and the new one, Vampire Weekend have made the bold evolutionary leap from the new English Beat to the new Talking Heads. In fact, I would submit, they are actually better than the Talking Heads. I know this much, I like more Vampire Weekend songs than I like Talking Heads songsĀ  — and I really, really like the Talking Heads. Not sure what they were going for with that stage set that looked like the inside of a New Orleans funeral home from 1972, but musically they could pretty much do no wrong. Actually, that’s not entirely true, I thought “Horchata” was, somewhat inexplicably, a hot mess last night. But excepting that moment, VW once again sealed their rep as the finest live act on two docksiders. Last night they walked with diamonds on the souls on their feet. Especially during the luminous, set-closing reading of “Obvious Bicycle.” So let the haters hate. That’s just more semi-ironic prep school Cape Cod summer fantasias with sunbeam harmonies and a deathless Soweto beat for you and me. — JONATHAN VALANIA