Appreciation was the theme of the night when Kurt Vile commandeered the High Noon Saloon for his May 21 show. Vile and his band The Violators kicked off their set not with a song of their own, rather covering The Feelies “For Awhile” in respectable fashion.
Chairs sat abandoned at the back of the room as the crowd pressed to the front, eyes glued to the mass of hair crooning somber serenades. As each song trailed off, silence pervaded the room until respectfulness reached an awkward threshold, fixed only by quick explosions of cheers and applause. These outbursts were cut short knowingly, however, as if the crowd might usher in Vile’s next song sooner.
Kurt gave equal attention to his two most recent albums (Smoke Ring For My Halo and Childish Prodigy) when drawing on material for the evening. While the selection was strong from start to finish, he made sure to evenly space out particular fan favorites and songs with videos beginning with “Jesus Fever,” holding down the fort with the frantic “Freak Train,” and saving “Baby’s Arms” for the encore.
The performance of “Heart Attack” stole the show with Kurt screaming the usually mellow line, “You’re gonna get your head re-screwed on.”
A tip of the hat both to his earlier works and to artists who preceded him, Kurt made sure to sprinkle in some earlier album and EP tracks alongside a second cover, Springsteen’s “Downbound Train.”
Start to finish, Kurt Vile and The Violators put on one hell of a solid show. The crowd was mesmerized as the noise of the guitars rolled over them, fully invested in every note, every word.
KURT VILE & THE VIOLATORS
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