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Kurt Vile & The Violators at The Phoenix Concert Theatre

I really need to get over my prejudice over the names of music acts.  My own pre-conceived ideas of what a band would sound like has had me dismiss some pretty great acts before I actually heard them and gave them a chance.

Case in point is Philadelphia’s Kurt Vile and Th’ Violators, something I expected to be along the lines of GG Allin.  Totally irrational I know and couldn’t be any further from the truth, but sometimes that is how this brain works.  But I know I’m not alone as many after hearing who I was going to see thought I was in for a night of some seriously angry punk rock.

Originally a member of The War on Drugs, Vile is still touring behind his third album, Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze, released last year.  The tour pulled into a packed Phoenix Concert Theatre last night.  Having only listened to the most recent album recently, I was not familiar with a lot of the material, but it was the War on Drugs connection that really piqued my interest.

The two acts really do mine similar Crazy Horse territory, although where the War on Drugs give off a more perfectionist classic rock vibe, Vile and his Violators really are on a loose fuzzy trip.  And a trip the night was.  Opening with “Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze” the band laid down a nice bit of Americana before the guitars revved up and filled the room with some impressive guitar work.  Vile is not the chattiest of frontmen but he let his guitar do his talking and it just didn’t stop.  Offering up a generous selection from his three albums, tracks from 2011’s Smoke Ring For My Halo got the most boisterous applause.

Towards the end of the main set, Vile performed a couple of acoustic tracks concluding with “Too Hard” which was the final straw in inspiring me to run to the merch table to pick up his entire discography.  Incessant chatter which seemed amplified during the acoustic numbers was another reason to escpae from my vantage point, and again, I’ll never get why people shell out $30 so they can talk mindless nonsense like they were in their living room.  It’s rude to everyone involved and I’ll just never get the point.  Had Vile been a bore, then I might understand, but really if you are that uninterested, why stay?

About author

Concert reviewer at Live in Limbo.