Images via Auditory Threshold
Finally, Saturday had arrived, and that meant only one thing to me: I would finally be seeing Kurt Vile and hearing the music that has been haunting my existence. I start most of my days with Constant Hitmaker and always end them with God Is Saying This To You..., with some other Kurt Vile songs in between. Today, I listened to "Freeway" for an hour straight. If you ask how this is possible, you should probably give the song a listen and tell me how you could NOT play it for hours on end. Even now, I am listening to "Don't Get Cute" on repeat. Needless to say, Kurt Vile was my must-see act at Northside Festival, especially since I missed him at Silent Barn on my birthday.
But, before Kurt Vile would close out the night at The Shank, there were a few bands to stand through, ranging from good to painful. We arrived minutes before Best New Music'd Woods hit the stage. The Shank was so packed that badge holders were no longer granted entrance, but a few dollars ameliorated that situation. Seeing as the event was hosted by Less Artists More Condos, I wasn't surprised to see that The Shank was less of a "venue" and more of a practice space with some loft rooms, a little reminiscent of the place that held the last LAMC show I attended. The lack of air ventilation didn't deter people from checking out Woods, who was clearly one of the most popular acts of the festival.
I have to admit that I didn't like seeing Woods at Underground Lounge, where they performed with Wavves and Nodzzz. At that show, the sound was so unbalanced from where I was standing that everything just sounded like noise. Although the sound at The Shank wasn't the greatest and Jeremy's mic cut out at times, I could actually make out the individual components of their music. For me, being able to break down the sound complexities gave me an understanding of Woods that I didn't have before, one that is crucial in my appreciation for their music. Music aside, I have a lot of respect for Jeremy Earl and his label, Woodsist, which is putting out some of the most exciting music that I've been listening to in the last few months. Everything that I've ordered from Woodsist has been personally mailed by Jeremy Earl, and that is amazing to me.
To Clean - Woods
Kurt Vile and the Violators were scheduled to go on at 1 AM, but some members of the Violators were held up elsewhere. By the time the full band materialized on stage, it was close to 2:30 AM. As Kurt tuned his guitars, he said, "Sorry for the delay...pedals." The joke was lost on most of the crowd. I would have liked to have seen Kurt entertain us by himself in the meantime, but I guess the bill did read "Kurt Vile & the Violators." While the band only played for about 30 minutes, it was enough to leave me wanting more. Sure enough, I've been giving Kurt Vile plenty of rotation since the Northside performance. I may prefer Vile's bedroom rock stylings of Constant Hitmaker and God Is Saying This To You…, but seeing him with the Violators only confirmed my belief that Kurt Vile is destined for stardom (including an imminent BNM stamp of approval from P4K). During their set, I kept on shaking my head in disbelief. The same man who serenades with "My Sympathy" is also capable of jamming out the epic "Freak Train," complete with an unforgettable scream-sing. The two songs seem wildly different in style, but yet they both exemplify Kurt Vile's musical identity. Hippies Are Dead most eloquently strives to describe it in their review of God Is Saying This To You…. I hope we hear more of this brilliant juxtaposition on the forthcoming Childish Prodigy, to be released on Matador in Fall 2009.
Keep an eye out for the repress of God Is Saying This To You. They're only printing 500 more copies, so do not snooze on this purchase. You may want to order directly from Mexican Summer to avoid any mishaps. Kurt Vile will be performing during the Woodsist/Captured Tracks Festival, which has the most amazing lineup I've ever seen. I assume this will be KV without the Violators. Edit: The Woodsist show will be Kurt with a full band, but he has alluded to a couple solo numbers as well.
Freeway - Kurt Vile
My Sympathy - Kurt Vile
Don't Get Cute - Kurt Vile
Order Constant Hitmaker here. His entire discography is also available on iTunes. Do the right thing, buy it all, and then tell your friends to do the same.
Past coverage on Kurt Vile here. Thanks to Will Shu for shooting the show on behalf of MusicOlogy.