There are some shows and some artists that you feel you just can’t miss when they come to town. That artist you feel like maybe we don’t appreciate as much now but years later will look back to their songs and work as a point of influence. Artists like John Prine or Townes Van Zandt are now celebrated for their honest writing and their unique styles. Kurt Vile is one of those artists.
Kurt Vile and The Violators stopped at Taft Theatre Wednesday night to deliver Vile’s unique style of songwriting and guitar playing. With a packed crowd by the time the show started at 8:30, Vile’s opener the Sadies were possibly the best surprise from the night. Their loud fast style of southern rock was exciting and raw. The aesthetic of the band was sort of a gothic Bakersfield style with rhinestones and suits. The Sadies will definitely be on heavy rotation for many after their performance.
Vile joined the Sadies for their last song ‘It’s Easy (Like Walking)’ then was back on stage after a quick break. Vile and company kicked off their set with the newest single ‘Loading Zones’ off Vile’s 2018 record ‘Bottle it in.’ The new record is a true dive into what Vile’s music is like, at times you can get lost in the songs with long instrumental breaks and interesting witty lyrics about his love of his hometown Philadelphia.
Vile’s performance showed off what he is best at, writing songs. With some of his more well-known songs like ‘Wakin on a Pretty Day’ and ‘Pretty Pimpin’ of course making the set list; it was more exciting to hear Vile do songs like ‘Peepin Tom.’ A song he co-wrote with Courtney Barnett on their duet album, Vile performed that song in a solo acoustic setting.
The set list was a great spread of Vile’s best work since his critically acclaimed 2013 album Wakin on a Pretty Daze. With songs not just from the new album but more focusing on his past work. Vile has a pretty lengthy catalogue of songs that go back to 2008.
Seeing Vile live feels like something special, like he’s one of a breed that was dying and is now having a resurgence. With Vile’s work it has allowed for more songwriters like him to break through the mold, like Courtney Barnett and Ty Segal.
His style entirely unique to himself from his twangy vocals and his banjo influenced guitar style there are few musicians like Vile. Taking from all sorts of influences like John Prine to Bruce Springsteen, Vile will be looked back as someone who was completely themselves. To see someone like that is exciting in itself.