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The Buffalo Outer Harbor should host more shows. I’m just sayin’.
The outdoor location features interesting views no matter what direction you look.
It’s right along the water where you enjoy a stunning sunset and opposite that you see the old rusted silos, shipyard and General Mills factory. Just behind that stands the modern skyline. The location gives off an authentically Buffalo “vibe.” (See what I did there?)
The reason so many people were crowding the Outer Harbor was to watch, dance and sing along with the prep-pop-rock group, Vampire Weekend. With a floral pattern backdrop and a burnt orange sunset, Vampire Weekend took the stage. The energy was substantial and the screams were deafening. Immediately, the group jumped into the lead single from their latest album Modern Vampires of the City, “Diane Young.” With the highly modulated chorus “Baby baby baby baby right on..." the crowd sang along at the top of their collective lungs. Lead vocalist and guitarist Ezra Koenig gave a slight smile. It was going to be a good night.
From that point on, the group had complete control of the crowd, rolling straight into the percussive “White Sky” then “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa.” Every song managed to be a fan favorite. Despite the band only having 3 albums to their name, the 19 song set list kept the crowd engaged till the very end. Some highlights of the night included “Holiday,” the made-for-dancing single “A-Punk,” and the infamously satirical favorite “Oxford Comma.” (See what I did there?)
Opening for Vampire Weekend was Cults, an indie pop band from Manhattan. Fronted by Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion, the group was formed in 2010 and quickly found success with the release of an EP and a self-titled full length. The crowd was generally unfamiliar with the group though they did give them polite applause following each song.
The performance was straightforward and relatively uneventful. Brian regularly switched between keyboard, guitar, and synth percussion while maintaining backing vocals. Madeline’s lead vocals were adeptly performed. Indeed, her pitch/tone/timbre was impressive live. I have been a fan of their albums though their stage presence did leave a bit to be desired. The excellent subtleties of their studio work were partially lost in the party environment with a crowd that was just ready to dance and have a good time.
Early in Vampire Weekend’s set, Koenig joked about not visiting Buffalo since 2007. At that time they played at the Soundlab. “If that place is still around,” Koenig joked (sadly, it is not.) Their set list reflected exactly why Vampire Weekend is one of the best at what they do. Their fusion of indie-pop, punk, baroque pop, and afro-beat is nothing ground breaking but the concise nature of their execution is second to none. Add to that the witty lyricism and the suave image; you have the makings of a band ready-made for success in the overcrowded music industry.