Chicano Batman & Vampire Weekend @ Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn in Indianapolis, IN
Review & photography by Michael Cottone
On June 7th, Vampire Weekend took the stage at the Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park along with Chicano Batman on the Indianapolis stop of their Father of the Bride Tour. People of all ages stormed the venue for a sold-out night at the lawn on a night that couldn’t have been more perfect for a summer concert. Cotton candy colored skies graced the sunset, and the energy from all the concert goers was welcoming. Before the concert and between sets, classical music passed the time and effortlessly set the mood that encouraged conversation amongst strangers in the crowd, something that made the time pass faster than normal. This was something I’ve never seen at a concert before; also a signifier of the uniqueness that this concert brought.
Chicano Batman, a Los Angeles based four-piece group, opened up the night. Their groovy, the 70s influenced psychedelic sound complements Vampire Weekend seamlessly, making them a fitting choice as an opener. While the majority of the crowd wasn’t initially familiar with the band, it wasn’t hard to tell that they were digging their on-stage presence. Vocalist Eduardo Arenas showed his versatility on stage, playing keys or bass guitar depending on the song while simultaneously handling the lead vocals. Their 45-minute set consisted of material ranging from each of their three albums, including their newest singles “Háblame” and “Corazón De Roca.” It’s hard to pinpoint any bands that compared so closely to Chicano Batman, which encouraged the crowd to stay attentive during their set. They are a band to pay attention to shortly as the ascend higher in the musical world.
Vampire Weekend took the stage at approximately 8:45pm and played until 11pm, enough time to play a whopping 26-song setlist. They immediately jaw-dropped the audience by opening with a 10-minute jam of “Sunflower,” one of their catchy lead singles off their new record, Father of the Bride. When the album came out, comparisons to Phish kept being drawn with Vampire Weekend’s reinventive approach. With this performance, these comparisons have the case to certainly grow stronger. Throughout the night, they pleased fans of all eras of Vampire Weekend, playing tracks from each of their four records, mixing it up after each one. One of the funnier moments of the night occurred when the band started to play their classic “A-Punk,” but messed up the beginning. “We’ll try that one again,” said lead singer Ezra Koenig as he laughed at the mistake. Out of the entire night though, they only did one cover, rare for a band playing asset list as long as theirs. It was an inspired performance of Bob Dylan’s “Jokerman,” of his 1983 album Infields. Ezra made it clear that the song was inspiring and formative for the band itself before playing it.
Witnessing bands like Vampire Weekend play live is a truly special occasion simply because not one performance of theirs is going to be the exact same. They switch up the setlists between tour stops, take requests during their encores, and the jams incorporated into various songs are a true testament to their chemistry together. You can stream Vampire Weekend’s new album, Father of the Bride, here and buy tickets for the remainder of their tour here.