Vampire Weekend performed at the Lifestyles Communities Pavilion Monday night. John Petric says, “They play their gerbil-istic blend of South African township jive wed to herky-jerky emo-weenie new wave and I think, man, any second now and they're going to bust out "Turning Japanese" by the Vapors and that is SO Crazy Mama's circa 1980 skinny-tie yuck.”

 This is as deep as Vampire Weekend got for me Monday night outdoors at the LC Pavilion, as I pondered how to describe the Brooklyn band's South African township-meets-new-wave music.
 A quirky swirl?
 A swirl of quirk?
 A swirly quirk?
 Or maybe a Spockian shock to Captain Kirk?
 Well, any old way, I didn't start out annoyed by them. Quite the contrary, photographing their first three songs, I was close enough to untie front man Ezra Koenig's sneakers so it wasn't hard to get caught up in their huge energy, their dynamic drummer's pounding, their bassist's below-the-waist knee-knocking contortions and Koenig's rather arresting onstage persona of Donny Osmond, Elvis and David Byrne. Then, by the fourth song, as I moved into the crowd the excitement wore off.
 I guess that's what drug users call a "rush", huh? Or so I have read.
 The phrase Paul Simon's "Graceland" under the influence of Euro-weenie ran through my mind like a Times Square banner headline. With the first three Vampire songs being perhaps the creme de la Lugosi--Cousins, White Sky, Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa--I'd gotten an admittedly inordinantly strong blast of VW. The rest of the Vampire tunes to be heard, each fired on a few cylinders. But never more than four and never enough to make their night much more of a Euro-weenie Grand Prix. I want big hairy American balls Nascar rock even if it is out of Brooklyn.'
 But also I'm suspicious--and tired--of seemingly one-man shows, like Jim James of My Morning Jacket, and Koenig, too. They seem to collaborate only so far as they come up with every lyric and the band some of the music, maybe. Don't know if their creative processes are exactly that. Live it seems that way. And I don't find either of them terribly fascinating.
 Though Koenig's lyrics can be intriguing. From Kwassa:
 As a young girl, Louis Vuitton
 with your mother on a sandy lawn
 as a sophomore with reggaeton
 and the linens you're sitting on
 can you stay up to see the dawn
 in the colors of Benetton?
 Admittedly, one of the more interesting come-ons in pop, eh? This, though, brings us to the band's inherently worst flaw. Namely, their unsexiness. They get no Xs from my puritanical review board. Donny Osmond doing the occasional Elvis stance while channeling the weirdest giraffe in music, David Byrne, is nobody's inspirational idea of a wet dream.
Now, they do have a certain technical plus, and it's a big one and it's this: these guys are slick and I mean super-slick. They play their gerbil-istic blend of South African township jive wed to herky-jerky emo-weenie new wave and I think, man, any second now and they're going to bust out "Turning Japanese" by the Vapors and that is SO Crazy Mama's circa 1980 skinny-tie yuck. In other words, they've got nifty energy and nifty guitar parts and nifty keyboard strokes reinforcing Koenig's crafty lyrics of idiosyncratic coolness. Very, very produced. Everything in its place. Well-edited. Nothing left to hang. I hate that shit.
(Self-disqualifying disclaimer, possibly: I do so love the Cars' first album. Guilty.)
Somehow, but not unsurprisingly, the Vampire's considerable passion gets diluted by this precision and I can't have that, not from a Grand Prix-type Euro-gerbil band when my loins are begging for big hairy slobbering American balls Nascar rock, supercharger style. And I also can't have a band visibly self-possessed. Was it MGMT that was like that, and/or the Avett Brothers? Sod that. You can't be emotional AND self-possessed.
Still it gets worse. They've got so much layered and proper pop confection it's like a big cheesy wedding cake, or a well-stitched Amish doily, if you will. That's it, yes, by jove, I've nailed the Vampire Weekenders: doily music.
And yet...
I rechecked my notes looking for a scrap of hope for the Vampire Weekend laymen of the world, that indeed this COULD be the band for you and here goes. Fifth song: sounds like Buddy Holly's Peggy Sue minus the crucial all-telling third chord. Tenth song: not unlike a rechanneling of the Buzzcocks's Pete Shelley. Not bad musical references, however unintentional. The Vampires almost matter. The question is, will they ever really matter to millions and make music that has those precious third and fourth dimensions? Do they have true staying power or is three albums the maximum for them? Or are they just another kings-of-the-fickle-modern-generation where no one grows musically or their audience after three to five years of happening? See Kings of Leon.
 So, yes, Vampire Weekend make unmanly doily music--and I wipe my bottom with doilies daily.
However, in my best British accent I must say, I don't like them, dahling, but I cahn't hate them, I simply cahn't.