Kurt Vile and the Violators’ stop in Columbus on NYE eve pretty much lived up to my expectations. The loud psych numbers (“Hunchback,” “Freak Train”) were head-crunching and fist-pumping, and the acoustic selections (“Heart Attack,” “Dead Alive”) echoed with robust fingerpicking and Vile’s casually tossed-off vocals.
Matt Whitehurst of openers Psychedelic Horseshit probably said it best when he announced from the stage that listening to Vile will be like, “When you’re shaving but you don’t have any shaving cream and you’re just, like, shaving your face off… but pretty.”
“Freak Train” was a highlight of the night for me; guesting Rich Horseshit (above, right) on sax was a perfect fit for the controlled chaos. I’m also partial to the talk-singing and “knit me a sweater” Joni Mitchell references on “Dead Alive.”
The Childish Prodigy-centric set was interrupted a few times when the sound cut out. Each time there was some awkward/bummer silence, then Moons Dustin would emerge from the back of the Summit with some sort of wrench in his hand. Weird. The Violators were somehow able to jump right back into the middle of “Freak Train.” (Not so much “Good Lookin Out”).
A few complaints: It was short (though I can’t blame them with all the power outages; just imagine if that’d happened at Jay Reatard’s Summit show…). And I would have liked to hear just a track or two from God is Saying This to You, maybe a couple of them solo? And I’m still waiting see him bust out his banjo skills… But I’d listen to this set all over again.
Great seeing Tommy Jay (above), too. His solo acoustic set, combined with Psychedelic Horseshit’s raucous performance (punctuated by a sorta awesome dub jam), were good precursors to Vile’s split personality.
Kurt Vile set list:
[Can’t decipher my chicken scratch--anybody?]
Good Lookin Out