This past weekend, Vampire Weekend played a triumphant homecoming show at Madison Square Garden, streaming that show around the world. They also announced another long slate of tour dates, including a two-night stand at Red Rocks. And on top of all of that, Vampire Weekend also did musical-guest duty on last night’s episode of Stephen Colbert’s Late Show — one more chance for all of us to witness the power of Vampire Weekend’s current live lineup.
On last night’s Colbert, Vampire Weekend dug deep into this year’s great comeback album Father Of The Bride, playing a song that hasn’t yet gotten any love as a single. The song they picked, “Sympathy,” is one of the three or four catchiest on the album, if only because it’s the one that sounds most like Basement Jaxx. But when they played it live on last night’s Colbert, “Sympathy” took on a whole different texture.
Live, it turns out, “Sympathy” is less of an all-hook dance track and more of a lush, propulsive semi-acoustic banger. All the recent talk about Vampire Weekend as a jam band makes more sense when those acoustic guitars are on overdrive, when Chris Baio is playing a bass that looks like a ukulele. But it all works, and the song’s great breakdown, as rendered on Colbert, came off like some early-’70s Santana shit. Watch the performance below.
Father Of The Bride is out now on Columbia. Read our cover story on Vampire Weekend here.