Sunday, April 14, 2013 | 4:29 p.m.
If being a pit stop on the way to Coachella means getting to host buzzworthy bands on back-to-back nights, count Las Vegas in.
Vampire Weekend’s Friday night show at Boulevard Pool in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas was the venue’s third concert by a Coachella-bound act in as many nights, and it’s not a stretch to imagine thousands of festivalgoers bopping along to the band’s Afrobeat-inspired indie pop in the 90-degree heat.
The New York-based group, who met at Columbia University more than a decade ago, hasn’t graduated much from the “Graceland”-in-the-garage template that made them darlings of the blogosphere in 2007, but, then again, there aren’t many bands making their guitar riffs sound like kalimbas or adapting a Congolese dance beat into a song about collegiate sex.
Technically, there was nothing wrong with Vampire Weekend’s 16-song, 90-minute set. The four-piece of Ezra Koenig, Rostam Batmanglij, Chris Tomson and Chris Baio was locked in all night, beginning with an opening sprint through the supercharged “Cousins” from 2010’s “Contra.”
But there was nothing terribly exciting about it, either.
If you were a newcomer to the Vampire Weekend live experience, there was a certain novelty in seeing that, yes, they can navigate the complicated rhythms of “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” and the Cape Cod-referencing closer “Walcott.” But anyone who thought the band might add a little extra oomph to these now 6-year-old songs would be mistaken.
Aside from a three-sentence exposition following “White Sky,” one which accurately acknowledged what a beautiful night it was, frontman Koenig let his cheeky, Ivy League-level lyrics do the talking. Their forthcoming album, which has been forthcoming since Koenig alluded to working on a “ton” of new material a whole year ago, was represented by two as-yet unreleased tracks, plus, both “sides” of their current single “Diane Young.”
Like Tegan and Sara, who performed on the same Boulevard Pool stage two days earlier, Vampire Weekend has taken a more electronic approach with their most recent work. But none of the songs ever seemed too out of place whenever they popped up in the set. Which was the problem.
Whereas “Closer” introduced Tegan and Sara to a whole new fan base, it’s unlikely any of the quartet of new songs will move the needle for Vampire Weekend.
So where does a band like Vampire Weekend go from here? Only the biggest music festival in the country, that’s where. They play Indio, Calif., today and again the following Sunday.
Friday night’s setlist: “Cousins,” “White Sky,” “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa,” “Diane Young,” “Step,” “Holiday,” “Unbelievers,” “A-Punk,” “Ya Hey,” “Campus,” “Oxford Comma” and “Giving Up the Gun.” Encore: “Diplomat’s Son,” “One (Blake’s Got a New Face),” “Mansard Roof” and “Walcott.”
Jack Houston, editor of Las Vegas Magazine, Las Vegas Life and Vegas2Go, is not a vampire. As far as we know.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas dares to be different. From the hotel’s red reservations desks to fine art found throughout the resort, The Cosmopolitan’s signature style is helping to pave its own path on the Las Vegas Strip.
Upon entering the resort, you’re greeted by pillars of video boards playing video art by Digital Kitchen and David Rockwell Studio exclusively produced for The Cosmopolitan. Just beyond that, you’ll find all your favorite casino games on the resort’s 100,000-square-foot casino floor.
The Cosmopolitan’s rooms standout as the resort’s most unique feature. About 2,220 of The Cosmopolitan’s 2,995 rooms have 6-foot deep terraces that span the length of the room, a first at a modern Strip hotel. Other in-room amenities include soaking tubs, kitchenettes and quirky accessories like artsy coffee table books.
The dining experience at The Cosmopolitan isn’t something you’ll find at other Strip resorts, either. All of The Cosmopolitan’s 13 restaurateurs are new to the Las Vegas market. You’ll find American steakhouse fare in a modern setting at STK, top-notch sushi at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill and the freshest fish flown in from the Mediterranean daily at Estiatorio Milos.
Whether the sun is up or down, Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub is the place to find the party at The Cosmopolitan. The venue is a dayclub/nightclub, complete with a pool and cabanas outside and three different rooms with three different vibes inside.
If nightclubs aren’t your thing, you can grab a drink at one of The Cosmopolitan’s five other bars, like The Chandelier, which is encased in 2 million dripping crystals.