Scenes From Last Night's Kurt Vile Show at Trees.
Kurt Vile moves at his own speed, beholden to no one else's sense of time or place.
His guitar-playing fingers notwithstanding — they move at a rather remarkable pace, actually — Vile just kind of slinks about on stage, looking like the entire Freaks and Geeks cast rolled into one and as if he just accidentally wandered onto the stage.
And perhaps the lauded slacker-rock singer-songwriter du jour has earned at least that much. At 33 years old, Vile's had a hand in not one but two popular bubbling-under outfits of these times: There's his own, far more frequent solo efforts, which, performed live, find Vile flanked by his backing band The Violators; and there's the similarly Philadelphia-based The War on Drugs, of which Vile's no longer a member, although he did help kick-start that band into relevancy in the latter part of the last decade, too.
So, yes, the guy's earned his stripes — and, with them, the solid turnout that came to Trees last night to take in Vile's Monday-night offering alongside the also-deliberately-paced, throwback-styled and half-smile-inclined San Francisco-sprung Sonny and the Sunsets. That opening band's set was a well-received one on this night — the bill was as inspired a nonchalant pairing as nonchalant pairings can be, one presumes — but there's no question: This night belonged to Vile.
And, for 90 minutes last night, Vile merited all the adoration this crowd thrust his way, which was plentiful, to say the least. After each and every song Vile played — and he played songs from across his three most recent releases, although he certainly touched upon this year's Wakin on a Pretty Daze more frequently than the others — the crowd showered Vile with cheers.
Again, it was all to be expected: Vile, despite suffering from a cold, sounded great on this night, his three-piece backing band and his own deceptively fast guitar play sounding just incredibly lush on Trees' expansive P.A.
It was a strong set to say the least. The crowd sure felt that way.
And during his encore, Vile — not much of one for words, as even his often sing-speaky lyrics ride the farthest back end of his song's backbeats — seemed to reciprocate the sentiment. Mumbling into his microphone, it sure sounded like he was thanking the crowd.
One thing is for certain: He did shout out his local former tourmates in True Widow — he did so twice, actually, because the crowd couldn't quite make out his first one.
Regardless: It was the audience that should've been thankful on this night, not Vile.
And it was.
All photos by Karlo X. Ramos.