Dam good show: Vampire Weekend drummer launches new project

New crew: Vampire Weekend drummer Chris Tomson, second from left, has a new project and new bandmates (who are not these guys).
Brooklyn Paper
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He’s leading the girls’ night out!

The drummer for the band Vampire Weekend has swapped his Oxford comma–questioning bandmates in favor of a trio of women for his new solo project Dams of the West, which opens for folk singer Father John Misty at the Kings Theatre on May 10. The biggest difference between touring with his Columbia University-brethren and his new band is not musical, but aromatic, he reported.

“The van smells a lot better than what I remember from Vampire Weekend,” said drummer-turned-guitarist and singer Chris Tomson, who lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Tomson released his debut solo album, “Youngish American” with Dams of the West in February — the last member of Vampire Weekend to release a solo project. He composed the album after his mega-outfit wrapped up its 2013 tour, and he realized that had reached some milestones that gave him plenty to write about.

“I sat down and tried to see if anything was there,” he said. “I was at the point I was 30, just got married, you know — had things that I was feeling very deeply and sort of figuring out at that particular point.”

Tomson also felt very deeply about drafting all women for his backing band, eventually finding three winning candidates through friends of friends.

“The only thing I really knew was that I wanted to play with women,” he said. “I just spent a decade creating music, playing shows with four dudes, which was great and I look forward to doing that again, but I thought conceptually it would be a cool change for me to lean into.”

Along with adjusting to new bandmates, he’s also adjusting to appearing on stage away from his drum kit, an experience that has awakened a startling new awareness of his lower limbs.

“The weirdest thing has been standing up while performing,” he said. “My legs are normally spoken for and now it’s sort of stumbling around, not sure what to do.”

People are so eager to check out his showmanship and new music that the Flatbush show has already officially sold out — though tickets are still available from ticket resellers — but fans will have another chance to catch him at Baby’s All Right on June 19.

Dams of the West at Kings Theatre (1027 Flatbush Ave. between Tilden Avenue and Duryea Place in Flatbush, May 10 at 8 pm. $50–$55.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 5:59 pm, July 9, 2018
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