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Vampire Weekend at the Wiltern, 09/18/08

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I'll be honest with you - Prior to seeing them live, I couldn't muster up enough emotion to form an opinion about Vampire Weekend. I didn't have anything against them, but they were firmly in the won't-turn-it-off-if-it-comes-on-the-radio/wouldn't-make-fun-if-they-were-on-a-friend's-iPod category - likable, definitely; terrible, definitely not, but I found them unremarkable, inoffensive and competently un-mind blowing.

After seeing them perform at the Wiltern last thursday, I can report that my opinion was somewhat misguided. No, I don't think I saw pure genius on display, but damn it, these guys are fracking likable. They performed expertly written pop songs that reflected their own excellent record collections more than any original ideas, but they put on an great show, displayed admirable rapport with the crowd, and even had very nice things to say about our fine city, all of which helped endear them to your vain and egocentric reviewer. And it's definitely true that being amid a crowd of screaming, enthusiastic fans does something to soften one's attitude.

But it's true also that whatever Vampire Weekend's deficiencies, they're smart, stylish and a lot of fun, and their music grows on you. Not like a tumor, but like your hair after you start using Rogain™; you didn't really think it would happen but you're pleasantly surprised by the results, even if you'll never admit to using it in public. Luckily for those of you who couldn't make it, we brought back a visual record of the experience. Enjoy and then click below to read further thoughts on the experience, including some footnotes, which add nothing to this review but have been included nonetheless for padding purposes.

All photos taken for LAist by Rebecca Lips.