Photos by Cole Leuthel
Philadelphia singer-songwriter Kurt Vile brought his Violators to the Danforth Music Hall last night for the first of two sold out shows in support of his seventh album, Bottle It In, one of my favourite discs of 2018.
For a Saturday night, the packed crowd was remarkably chill when Vile and his Violators took the stage, almost offering up a collective shrug of the shoulders in anticipation, but Vile was up to the task as he kicked the night off with the first single off Bottle It In, “Loading Zones”.
It was my fourth time seeing Vile and definitely one of the best times I’ve seen him. The presentation itself hasn’t really veered off in different tangents, but Vile seems more confident or is having more fun. Whatever it is, he’s bringing extra life into the 90 minute set that touched on his most recent four albums, minus Lotta See Lice, his collaborative album from 2017 with Courtney Barnett.
“Check Baby” roared into life with driving guitars that blasted the audience from their passive trance-like state and began to roar with approval. Other highlights included “Girl Called Alex”, “Wakin’ on a Pretty Day” before closing out the main set with a shortened, but still sweet “Skinny Mini” and “Wild Imagination”
The band returned for a run through their biggest “hit”, “Pretty Pimpin’” before closing out the night with “Baby’s Arms” from 2011’s Smoke Rings for My Halo. By the end of the night the crowd was properly awake and clearly not wanting the night to end but had to venture out into the cold night with a warm fuzzy feeling.
Opening the night was Toronto’s own the Sadies, a band I haven’t seen in years and have forgotten how compelling a force they can be on stage. While I only caught the back half of the set, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention them as what I witnessed was epic and euphoric and managed to silence the curse of the Opening Band Chatter syndrome. They closed out their set by bringing the headlining man out himself for “It’s Easy (Like Walking) from 2017’s Northern Passages.