Friday, September 17, 2010

Vampire Weekend w/ Dum Dum Girls & Beach House!

Know what's better than having tickets to a sold out show at Radio City Music Hall? Having FREE sold out tickets to Radio City Music Hall! That's right, every so often the concert Gods exercise a bit of karma and give this Madame the free gift of Music. Why? How? I consider it only fair considering the epic amounts of money I shell out to the tri-state area for shows!

This time was special for several reasons. My newest friendly addition, Kate, was about to embark on a trip to her beloved England for a month. To send her off right & proper we booked a table at the Highlands gastropub for some fine Scottish fare. Before the dinner even began Kate announced she had to cut the festivities short because a colleague of hers scored tickets to see Vampire Weekend with special guests Dum Dum Girls and Beach House. I was a little bummed because it meant the night was going to have to end early, and a little jealous because it sounded like a great show... then LO- a message appeared unto me in my inbox announcing the discovery of a "spare ticket", and a question asking if I would like to have it. A telepathic "YES!" rang out before I could even type my reply and hit send.

I was handed my ticket just outside the entrance to Radio City Music Hall, along with a little square pink sticker with the writing "Post Show" visible despite the bleed of the fading sharpie marker. "What's this?" I curiously enquired, showing only a tinge of potential excitement. Kate smiles her special half-cocked smile that I've come to know so well, and simply replied "I'm not sure, I guess we'll find out post show, eh?"

We headed to our seats, and I was met with the first of MANY surprises for the evening. We were NOT in the nosebleed section, as I normally am when I attend a concert at Radio City, instead I found myself staggeringly CLOSE to the stage. I mean MIND BOGGINGLY CLOSE. I didn't KNOW what the stage even really looked like- even though I had been there a hundred times before. It was QUITE shock to the nervous system, especially when I turned around, and looked behind me only to startle myself with THIS view:

I couldn't believe my eyes. I had never been witness to the whole all-encompassing look of a SOLD OUT crowd containing primarily lively youth in Radio City Music Hall before (and I have been to the Christmas Show). I was experiencing this venue in an entirely new and different way, and I couldn't have been more excited to be there. 

The Well Dressed & Well Versed Dum Dum Girls!
Dum Dum Girls were, sadly, finishing up their set when I had arrived, but the little sampling I got told me that they're rather legit live- which is always nice to know about a group. The crowd was still pretty light when they went on, and I'd have to say their sound seemed better suited for a smaller venue, like Bowery Ballroom for instance. They were still pretty cool, and kept my foot tapping, but I felt like they weren't really digging the scene.
They were well dressed, and the sound was certainly there, though, and really, that's all I care about at the end of the day. I will definitely be giving them a more dedicated listen when they come on my Sirius XMU Radio Station (which they often do).

Beautiful, Ethereal, Beach House
Second act up was Beach House, a group I can't seem to turn my ear away from. It's like when ever I hear them, I am nostalgic for something that hasn't yet happened to me. The lead singer's voice reminds me of the singer from Tangerine Dream- whose work I am only familiar with because of the movie LEGEND. I hope and I pray that she knows the soundtrack, and will one day sing Legend for me in my back yard! Anyway- Beach House was everything I anticipated and more. They were positively ethereal. I was instantly riveted and surprisingly relaxed. They set a mood that was an alluring soundscape to melt away into. I didn't speak nor could I hear anyone else speaking. I was effectively in a musical ZONE, simply taking in the bellowing wails and droning guitars without any conscious care of the outside world. It was like I was floating in the ocean at night, but I wasn't scared that I'd fall asleep and drown. 

Vampire Weekend Takes the Stage!
THEN, after a proper, contemplative, aural journey courtesy of Beach House, Vampire Weekend took the stage, and the uproar of the excited, young, and eager crowd promptly took over. The show was exactly what I was looking for that night. It was up beat, it was well played, and perhaps most importantly, it was fun to dance to. This upbeat attitude permeated everything about the otherwise stuffy Radio City Music Hall. It was infectious- they almost seemed to DARE you to not smile and shake! It was amazing how effective the positive vibes were, especially considering that during the show, I found out (thanks to the lead singer) that the Long Island Railroad was SHUT DOWN because of a TORNADO that ripped through Queens and Brooklyn-- and I continued dancing anyway!

I mean, at that point, I was so busy smiling and dancing, I figured, what the hell- I will stay a little later and figure out what to do after I see what this little pink pass is all about. The show ended with a banging encore (Horchata is still ringing merrily in my ears), and as everyone filed out of the mammoth theater, we were instructed to wait patiently to the left of the stage...

Within a few short questioning moments, we were escorted through a heavy as lead black painted door through a narrow hallway and for a brief moment, while they were directing us to an elevator I caught a glimpse of something not many civilians get to witness... the view of Radio City Music Hall from behind the stage. It's a view so vivid for its scale, and its scenery that I doubt I will ever forget it. The dull glow of the burning lights, the impeccable black shine of the stage's lacquer, and the muted sea of maroon seats spanning for what seemed eons beyond it. It made that little pink square of a sticker on my leg, seem a little more precious, and I could've gone home right there, and thought I got to experience something pretty damn cool. Then, we took the elevator up and up, until we ended up somewhere that I'd NEVER thought I'd be inside of... the Radio City Rockette's Dressing Room! I'm a New Yorker after all, and as a little girl, I loved picturing all those ladies getting dolled up prim and proper for the big Radio City Christmas Spectacular! Again, I thought that was pretty cool, and the night could've ended there on a high note! Oh, did I mention that I had a brief friendly encounter with Vampire Weekend's drummer, Chris. Who, incidentally is a really friendly guy, who is also a pretty good photographer to boot. Need I say more? Oh... there was free beer too.  

About as close as I'll ever be to a Rockette!

If you were curious, here's VW's Setlist for that night: Holiday. White Sky. Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa. I Stand Corrected. M79. Bryn. California English. Cousins. Taxi Cab. Run. A-Punk. One (Blake's Got  A New Face). I'm Goin' Down (Springsteen Cover). Diplomat's Son. i Think Ur A Contra. Giving Up the Gun. Campus/Oxford Comma

Encore: Horchata. Mansard Roof. Walcott.

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