Who: Vampire Weekend with Beaches and Dum Dum Girls
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Red Rocks, Morrison
Twilight at Red Rocks will be the perfect time to take in a Vampire Weekend concert.
The light will just be fading over Denver when the indie pop band takes over the amphitheater on Friday. Red Rocks is a prime concert location and the venue’s acoustics will show off Vampire Weekend’s inventive fusion of sounds.
There might be a few real bats cruising Colorado’s night air, too.
2010 was a wild ride for the New York City band, so it’s no surprise the act landed a Red Rocks show. Vampire Weekend’s CD Contra became one of the top indie records of the year, but the group’s facing a much-publicized lawsuit with the album’s cover girl.
“It feels really special to play Red Rocks,” Vampire Weekend producer/multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij said. “We’ll definitely be playing a longer length show than ever before — and it will be one hell of a good time.”
Vampire Weekend’s been having a pretty good time since the band formed in 2006.
The young players met at NYC’s Columbia University. In fact, the group’s name came from an indie film made by lead singer Ezra Koening.
“The four of us had worked in different configurations before we started this band,” Batmanglij explained. “It was during our senior year that we decided to start Vampire Weekend. We had a vision for the band, and that was to combine the types of music we listened to all our lives.
“We definitely share a mutual love for The Beatles and classic pop songs. We incorporate sounds from every era in music. We’re interested in the melodies and different sounds that come from different parts of the world and different eras.”
Vampire Weekend adds one more unusual twist to its blend of sounds.
This band also likes to throw African and world music into its pop mix. The dynamic fusion makes Vampire Weekend tunes stand out from typical indie acts.
“Those world sound sets us apart from other bands,” Batmanglij confirmed. “Our first record has elements of classic and African music. We went a little more nostalgic with out latest record, Contra — we wanted to capture the feeling and aesthetics of the 1980s.”
In just a few years, Vampire Weekend went from touring in a mini-van to selling out shows around the country. Batmanglij credits loyal fans and bloggers for accelerating the group’s popularity.
“We had a lot of support from the Internet,” Batmanglij said. “Friends would tell friends about the band and they’d show up at the concerts. People also downloaded the music and it allowed them to get introduced to our band — even when they couldn’t find the album.”
Vampire Weekend’s debut CD landed at No. 17 on the “Billboard” charts. The innovative record became a darling of media critics and fans.
The band’s newest CD, Contra, came out in early 2010. In March, Vampire Weekend was featured on “Saturday Night Live” and was exposed to a whole new audience.
“We were really interested in exploring the ’80s for this record,” Batmanglij said. “I was really young then and there was a strange haze over that time period.
“We wanted to learn more about the politics of the era and what was going on socially. That really affected the music and lyrics of Contra.”
The new CD was a hit, but there was a summer glitch in Vampire Weekend’s musical coup.
Ann Kirsten Kerris’ photo is featured on Contra’s album cover. However, the model claims the picture was used without her permission. Now she’s suing the band for $2 million.
The group’s kept mum about this, but it did release this recent statement:
“Vampire Weekend and XL recordings licensed the rights to use the photo on the cover of Contra pursuant to a license agreement that contains representations and warranties authorizing this use of the photo. Now that a lawsuit’s been filed, we look forward to having the matter resolved in court. We’ll be filing our response after we’ve had the opportunity to review the allegations. Consistent with our practice, we will not be commenting further about the pending litigation at this time.”
The legal action’s not stopping this music train, and Vampire Weekend has a busy fall planned in the United States and around the globe.
“We’re really excited about what’s been happening for us,” Batmanglij said. “It’s something we dreamed about since we were teenagers.
“We just hope that people take away from the lyrics and music more than what’s on the surface.”