To look at Kurt Vile, one wouldn’t assume much. Long, shaggy hair which he hid behind, draping the microphone throughout most of his set. And The Violators, his backing band contained about as much flair as Period Five, the teacher band from the criminally-underrated Bad Teacher. In short, one doesn’t get seduced by Kurt Vile And The Violators on looks alone. What happens however, when the band plugged in and worked their way through a set heavy on Smoke Ring For My Halo, Vile’s latest full-length is a different story. And it’s one that the entire sold-out crowd can attest too.
Kurt Vile made the Monday night crowd want to escape. It wasn’t destination music however; it was journey music. The crowd nodded along, but not in compliant and ‘too cool for school’ indie fashion, but because their melodic yet penetrating rhythm of tracks Society Is My Friend and Baby’s Arms allowed the crowd to dream. Dream perhaps of a road trip surrounded by their dearest friends, or of that walk down the aisle towards the great unknown that is the rest of their life or perhaps, a dream of standing still while the rest of the world moves all too quickly (though many did move quickly towards the merch table to try and make this evening tangible).
Sure, it all sounds very new-age. Yet with no definitive peaks or valleys in Vile’s set, it was a set open for interpretation wherein tunes such as Jesus Fever and Life’s A Beach provided the soundtrack for possibilities. 2011 was a big year for Vile, and Melbourne was blessed to catch him at the height of his powers. Vile isn’t the kind of performer who simply shows us the proverbial rabbit in the hat; he shows us how to make the rabbit appear and encourages us to do the same.
BY JOSHUA KLOKE
LOVED: Well, um, every second of it. And dude had gnarly shirts for sale.
HATED: That Vile can’t have a residency at NSC.
DRANK: From what felt like a fountain of frigging youth.