Indie-rock mainstay Vampire Weekend, a band that has never been shy about its affinity for heady jams, worked a number of nods to notable jam bands into its set at Coachella on Saturday.

Midway through the group’s 45-minute set, following a rendition of “This Life”, frontman Ezra Koenig took a moment to tell the Coachella crowd about the band’s eventful week: “This has been a very busy week for us. We just dropped a new album called Only God Was Above Us… five albums! In stores now. We played a show down in Austin, TX under a total eclipse. We dropped a 30-minute “Cape Cod” with Goose. And we even went to a Rangers game. Anyway, we’re here now.” And that’s not even counting the re-worked version of live Grateful Dead staple “Peggy-O” the band performed for a SiriusXM session on April 5th.

To close the set, Vampire Weekend offered up the second-ever rendition of a new live “experiment,” a mashup dubbed “Cocaine Cowboys”. Commenting on the group’s last-minute addition to the Coachella lineup as he introduced the song, Koenig noted, “It’s an honor to play for you in this late afternoon sun. Truly, a week ago we didn’t know we were gonna be here. You didn’t know it, either. Life’s funny like that. The truth is, when I got the text message inviting us to a festival here, I was twisted off that Texas ranch water, and it was a little bit unclear if we were coming to Coachella or StageCoach. And here’s a little something for you. It might take some getting used to but I promise you’ll be glad you stayed to the end.”

Much like the debut of “Cocaine Cowboys” at the aforementioned Austin show, the band began with the saloon shuffle and weeping pedal steel of Vampire Weekend’s “Married in a Gold Rush”. The medley went on to wind through snippets of “All the Gold In California” (Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers Band), “Sin City” (Flying Burrito Brothers), and “Cumberland Blues” (Grateful Dead).

Related: Vampire Weekend Ties Clever Grateful Dead Nod Into Post Malone “Sunflower” Cover [Watch]

The band even tapped into a beloved jam band parking lot tradition with a game of onstage cornhole during the song. While Vampire Weekend has only played “Cocaine Cowboys” twice, it appears that the cornhole breakdown is genuinely a part of the song. In Austin, the band’s guitar tech, Josh Goldsmith, had the honor of throwing the bean bag. At Coachella, Vampire Weekend utilized the deep pool of celebrities on hand and invited Paris Hilton, the so-called “Queen of Coachella,” to take the first “Cocaine Cowboys” bag toss.

Hilton, whose cowgirl cosplay evoked her reality TV glory days (“I haven’t played this game since The Simple Life,” she told a crowd likely comprised predominantly of kids who were not born when The Simple Life aired in the early 2000s), missed her initial few attempts but eventually scooted closer to the board and threw one down Wemby style as bassist Chris Baio and drummer Chris Thomson maintained the suite’s honky tonk rhythm. [Editor’s note: Hilton’s scoring shot was not regulation and will not be noted on the official ledger.]

You know who would have something to say about Hilton’s dishonest cornhole tactics? Old “honest” Abe Lincoln. As luck would have it, that’s exactly who was on deck: Once Paris skipped back to the wings, a Lincoln impersonator took her place onstage to try his hand at the game. He missed, too, but Vampire Weekend was in a giving mood and distributed “gold bars” to the audience as a consolation prize.

As if the outfit’s jam band itch wasn’t already apparent enough, “Cocaine Cowboy” finally came to a close with a “Gold Rush” crowd participation build-up borrowed from Phish classic “Possum”. Who wants to bet that the usual voice of “Possum”, Phish bassist Mike Gordon, gets some “Cocaine Cowboy” cornhole rounds in when his solo outfit jumps on Vampire Weekend tour as a supporting act in June?

While the full video stream from the Vampire Weekend Coachella Weekend One set is no longer on YouTube, you can get a taste of the hi-jinx with a video of the medley’s debut in Austin here.

View the setlist from the Vampire Weekend set at Coachella Weekend one below. Scroll down to check out pro-shot videos of “Cousins” and “A Punk” from the performance in addition to a clip of the Paris Hilton cornhole cameo. For a complete list of upcoming Vampire Weekend tour dates, head here.

Setlist: Vampire Weekend | Coachella | Indio, CA | 4/13/24

Set: Classical, Holiday, Unbelievers, This Life, Gen-X Cops, Diane Young, Cousins, A-Punk, Cocaine Cowboys (Mashup) [1]

[1] Contained elements of “Married in a Gold Rush” (Vampire Weekend), “All the Gold In California” (Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers Band), “Sin City” (Flying Burrito Brothers), “Cumberland Blues” (Grateful Dead), and “Possum” (Phish)

To close the set, the veteran indie rockers performed a 15-minute honky tonk mashup dubbed “Cocaine Cowboys,” which featured performances of their own song “Married in a Gold Rush” alongside covers of “All the Gold In California” (Gatlin Brothers Band), “Sin City” (Flying Burrito Brothers), “Cumberland Blues” (The Grateful Dead), and “Possum” (Phish). During the medley, Vampire Weekend invited two special guests to the stage for a game of cornhole: Hilton and an Abraham Lincoln impersonator. For her part, Hilton said she hadn’t played cornhole since her mid-2000s reality show The Simple Life and promptly missed her two attempts.

Vampire Weekend – “A Punk” [Pro-Shot] – Coachella – 4/13/24

Vampire Weekend – “Cousins” [Pro-Shot] – Coachella – 4/13/24 


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