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Vampire Weekend Debut New Song as Bonnaroo Kicks Into Gear

June 13, 2008 11:24 AM ET

Midway through Vampire Weekend's Thursday night closing set, frontman Ezra Koenig jokingly asked the crowd, "Did anyone take public transportation to get here?" Judging by the hours of traffic it took thousands of cars and RVs to roll into the Bonnaroo campground, not many people did. Still, the preppy pop-punk crew got the crowd riled up with the sparkling pop-rock jam "M79," which Koenig described as their tribute to public transport. Vampire Weekend's set mostly featured tracks from their debut disc, including "One (Blake's Got a New Face)," on which Koenig engaged the crowd for a deafening sing-a-long. But the band were brave enough to unveil a new, still-untitled song, and it might be their most afro-pop-inspired jam yet, with synthesized tribal chants, sparklingly clean guitar lines and Koenig's amped-up hoots and hollers. "If you don't know this song," Koenig told the crowd, "and you're on drugs, all you have to do is dance."

Bonnaroo Video: Vampire Weekend and MGMT Kick Off The Festival

Rolling Stone at Bonnaroo 2008

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

More Song Stories entries »
 
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