Kurt Vile is almost a little too “hip” to be extremely outgoing during a performance, but that’s why we love him, right? To quote one of my new friends from Alabama whom I met at Bonnaroo Music Festival, “Kurt seemed more jazzed at the Ween show than during his own performance”. (Ween is an alternative rock band with a huge cult following and they performed after Kurt Vile’s set.) Seeing Kurt Vile and the Violators was a complete contrast to when a musician “creates energy for the crowd”. It was more like a casual conversation, the interaction between the crowd and the musician became one of an intimate setting, even though Vile was performing in front of hundreds if not thousands of people. I enjoyed seeing a musician who didn’t need to work so hard to interact with the crowd in such an “energetic way”. He went on stage, sang beautifully, and didn’t perform with an over exaggerated stage presence. He was actually quite shy, but in a way that made you feel like you could relate with him. It was like he was saying “hey, I know what it’s like to not want to act in an extroverted way, and I know that’s not your personality”. That’s exactly it, Kurt Vile doesn’t act like he has an outgoing stage personality when he knows he just doesn’t have that type of attitude.
The reason I can shed some light on Kurt Vile’s personality is because I was actually able to meet him inside the press tent at the festival before his show came on. He answered questions in a timid, introverted manner. He walked about the press tent with a cool, mellow look to his face, with his curly long locks hanging down the graphic on his t-shirt. When I asked him to do a station ID for KZSC, he looked at me and said in his soft, cool voice, “Hey KZSC Santa Cruz, this is Kurt Vile, Sup’” (Shortened for What’s Up, I assume) . It was magnificent, simple, and he didn’t need anymore words to make the station ID perfect for KZSC.
During the performance of Kurt Vile and the Violators they played a number of hits off his new album B’lieve I’m Goin Down, including “Pretty Pimpin’” and “All in a Daze Work”, as well as a few others. They also delved into some older songs of Vile’s, including “Wakin’ on a Pretty Day”, which is from his album Wakin on a Pretty Daze. Kurt Vile sang in a slow, mellow, dreamy voice. He played guitar while his band supported him with beach-like rhythms that made you feel as though you were hanging out on his couch in Los Angeles on a sunny afternoon. (Which it was reported that he wanted his records to sound relaxed, like he recorded them sitting on his couch in his house.) His melodies were intricately presented, and his voice made you feel comfortable. He made the audience feel at ease and wanting to dance, and sway, because of his personality, his brevity of speech, and his way of maneuvering the stage in a relaxed manner.
I recommend going to see Kurt Vile and the Violators on August 11th in Santa Cruz, at The Catalyst! If you want a good time, and if you want to feel like you’re on some mellow vacation in a small beach town in California. (Which you probably are on vacation if you are in Santa Cruz at this time.) Go enjoy the show and see what Kurt Vile is all about!