Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend plays at Red Butte Garden, Tuesday, May 21, 2013. Vampire Weekend are Ezra Koenig-lead vocals, guitar, lyrics, Rostam Batmanglij ñ keyboards, guitar, backing vocals, lyrics, Chris Tomson ñ drums, percussion, Chris Baio ñ bass guitar, backing vocals.
Vampire Weekend opens summer at Red Butte Garden with celebratory set
Review » New York City’s pop-rock quartet opens Red Butte’s concert series.
First Published May 21 2013 10:06 pm • Last Updated May 22 2013 11:02 am

"It feels like the beginning of summer," singer Ezra Koenig told the crowd Tuesday at the sold-out Red Butte Garden before launching into the third song of Vampire Weekend’s headlining 20-song, 90-minute set.

And it did feel like summer, with Vampire Weekend opening what will be the largest concert series the University of Utah’s botanical garden has ever hosted, with 27 concerts left between now and mid-September. The evening turned chilly once the sun went down near the beginning of the New York City-based quartet’s set, but a sizable mass of flesh danced both next to the stage and throughout the well-manicured, lush green lawn, keeping bodies warm. (Liquor also helped.)

At a glance

Vampire Weekend

Where » Red Butte Garden

When » Tuesday, May 21

Bottom Line » Eclectic set of songs from an energetic band a good way to start off the concert series.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The quartet’s modern take on the admittedly nondescript genre of "world" music advanced with last week’s much-anticipated release of the band’s third album, "Modern Vampires of the City," where dub step shared the soundscape with ska and Latin-chanting choirs — much like what Peter Gabriel would do before he abandoned pop music for classical music. (The band’s nod to Gabriel came both in the soundtrack playing before the band took the stage as well as in the lyrics of the song, "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa.")

The band — led by Koenig but also featuring Chris Tomson on drums, bassist Chris Baio, and the band’s not-so-secret weapon, the musical omnivore Rostam Batmanglij on keys and guitars — was, unfortunately, not able to replicate the layers of music shown on the brilliant "Modern Vampires of the City," with previously recorded music weaved into the band’s live performance. But, fortunately, the spirit of the record survived, although it took until the fifth song for the band to trot out a song from the new album.

The creeping darkness of the third album’s subject matter didn’t come through, but it is more of a testament to the band’s Springsteen-esque ability to pair doom with ungloomy music.

The band’s set design was spartan, as many of Red Butte Garden performers choose to do, letting the trees that lined the stage and the grounds at stage right and left to reflect the lighting. Aside from fog machines, the only set ornamentation was an ornately framed mirror that every so often proclaimed a message. The band’s jeans and plain, untucked-in long-sleeved shirts showed that with this band, the song is king.

While the four members are noticeably statuesque in their showmanship, the energy, rhythms and melodies dare you to move, and resistance was usually futile. Red Butte Garden’s line-up skews to an older demographic, so it was nice to have a concert for the kids before they gravitate to the Vans Warped Tour and Crucial Fest later in the summer. Or, at the very least, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros on May 30.



story continues below
story continues below

Twitter: @davidburger

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.