If you'd told Vampire Weekend six months ago, when their debut album had only just hit the shelves, that they'd soon be playing shows on the other side of the planet that would sell out in less than an hour, they probably wouldn't have believed you.
Six months on, and having just conquered Splendour In The Grass and many of the European Festivals, they're now playing their first club show in Australia. And it sold out in less than an hour. And they still seem utterly unprepared for it. Or maybe they're already over it. Either way, the forty-eight minute long performance tonight isn't the performance of the 'hottest band in the world right now' - it's the performance of a band who seem tired of touring, and tired of their album, but a band who still haven't quite learned the art of stagecraft or how to interact with a crowd. And a half hearted band has led to a half hearted audience who seem more keen on talking through the songs than dancing to them.
Fortunately, the songs themselves are strong enough to carry the evening - the songs that made their debut album such an unrestrained joy still sound great even when performed by a band who don't really seem that keen on them any more. Tunes like set opener 'Mansard Roof'', early highlight 'A-Punk', and the final tracks of the night 'Oxford Comma' and 'Walcott' are bold enough and shiny enough to get the crowd moving, almost despite themselves.
But it's only on the three new songs tonight - 'Arrows', 'White Sky' and 'Little Giant' that the band itself seems really animated, clearly relishing the chance to play songs that they haven't been playing several times a week all year. And the new songs are very promising, each expanding on the Vampire Weekend sound in slightly different directions - the first a bit dancier, the second a bit rockier and third a bit more epic - and suggesting there's plenty of life in this band yet. If only there was more evidence of it tonight.