Saturday, May 03, 2008

Vampire Weekend / White Williams @ The Academy 2, Friday May 2nd 2008

This gig was sold out. It seemed to sell out in a matter of minutes. Not surprising really considering the start of the year buzz about 'the Weekend'. I didn't get tickets, but after the success of my MGMT adventure (turn up, wait in the cold for a few days, buy a ticket for face value, get in) I thought tonight would be no problemo. The trouble is that the touts are all over the shop when it's a sold out gig at the bigger Academy venues. They have runners at both ends of the route to the door and, whilst there were a few spares floating around, the touts had 'em snapped up in seconds. They're a little intimidating too. I did consider going into direct battle with 'em and shouting 'buyaticketanyonegottaspareticket', but I fear my remains may well have been found in various suitcases across the Midlands. Instead myself and Lady B huddled by the door looking longingly at ticket holders. We got one ticket fairly quickly...for the face value from some very nice chaps who didn't like touts and weren't forced into handing over their spare. Bargain. But then the wall of touts closed in and anything else got hoovered up faster than a bag of coke in Pentonville. At around 8.00pm I decided to bite the bullet and approach Mr Tout, having just been told by two lovely young ladies that they'd been relieved of their spare ticket for a mere £5. I offered Mr Tout a not unreasonable £15. No deal. He wanted £30. Hmmmm...what the hell are you? BP? His final offer was £25. Five times what he'd just paid. balls to that. I dislike touts I'm afraid. They're not as bad as the bastards who buy up tickets just to flog them on ebay. They are filth. Happily the government have decided to do nothing about this problem because they are run by a man with all the gumption and people skills of a marble. Gah! The solution, in my humble opinion, is simple. All tickets must be booked with a credit or debit card...the credit or debit card becomes your ticket...that's scanned as you go in...simple (they already scan your ticket at the Academy so why not do away with the physical ticket altogether?). That wipes out touting altogether. If you can't go, you inform the venue and your 'ticket' goes back on sale. The upshot of this long and sorry tale is that we ended up with one ticket. Being a gentleman I offered it to Lady B, being a Lady she wanted me to have it. It became a little like one of those calls when neither of you wants to put down the 'phone. As I don't mind going to a gig on my own, I ended up going in. Not ideal but there you go. The music? Oh yes, the music. First up White Williams. They are white...and one of them is called Williams (Joe), so no problem there. They do love their reverb. In fact the vocals were drenched in the stuff, as thick as treacle. They've got a slightly punky, jerky guitar thing going down, with some Television style interludes and a fair bit of early 80's synth noodling. When they hit their schwing some of us nodded along in appreciation but they never quite caught fire although I expect, as this was only their second UK date, they're still finding their feet. Well worth a listen though, particularly New Violence (on their My Space thingy).

The main event, and by some fluke I'd managed to gravitate to the front (osmosis I think), for a cracking view of an equally splendid gig. Vampire Weekend are splendid. Ignore the haters (and there are a view). Blending African rhythms with sharp as ninepence new waveness and preppy lyrics (who else mentions Louis Vuitton in a track for christsakes...apart form P.Diddly and co?). I get a strange Haircut 100 vibe too. Younger viewers (anyone under 30) go here and listen to Love Plus One..see...well...sort just gives me an excuse to big up Haircut 100 really...'Where does it go from here, is it down to the lake I fear?'...oh yes. Fear that lake. Quake at that lake in fact. Oh...listen to Boy Meets Girl too. Awesome. Pop perfection. Anyway, there's a point to all this. Vampire Weekend have that same smart, sophisticated, 'grown up' pop vibe so many mainstream early 80's bands had. And that is a very, very good thing. Performance wise Vampire Weekend were oh so much better than I was expecting. The lead Vampire really enunciates (that is the right spelling isn't it?) his words and does this cute wide eyed thing as he sings, raising up on his tippy toes at the end of lines (when his voice goes that little bit higher). Predictably the crowd went nuts for Apunk, but the whole set was a highlight for me. The fact that they played an untitled new track, which seemed to crank up the sound a notch or two even higher, bodes reall well for their future. With MGMT, Yeasayer, Late of the Pier, Alphabeat, Foals, The Anomalies and a whole host of other lovelies this is turning out to a surprisingly good year for, what I'd call, pop music. The good stuff is out there and it's getting through. Maybe we're not doomed after all...the sun's fact it's a...Faaaaantaaasssstic Daaaaaayyyy (that's a Haircut 100 track by the way...see what I did there...yes, you're right...I'll stop it now).

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