Friday, October 9, 2015

Kurt Vile - Waxahatchee - Luke Roberts -- 9:30 Club - Oct 8 2015

Luke Roberts - One trend that seems to be in play is that a hip sold-out show is very slow in filling the arena vs. a sell-out that appeals to the younger crowd who all get there early and pack it out front to back. Roberts has got the easy going laid back attitude that looks like it could handle either, although it is clearly the former tonight. Helping him out, is a drummer and a keyboardist (thankfully not a steel guitar as I incorrectly thought from my restricted back balcony vantage point). Roberts plays acoustic guitar in a relaxed style and appears to lead the other instruments with the drums, careful to punctuate as opposed to drive. The keys are there for atmosphere and are quite effective. This is not as deep and brooding as Bill Callahan, but there is a similar control of pace and tone at work. Roberts' songs could easily work solo and he probably plays them that way often, but he has just the right presentation for the big stage. And he even gets Mr. Vile up on stage for his closer to assist him with some vocals. The crowd still has not fully arrived, but it's large enough to give him a nice ovation.

Waxahatchee - Katie Crutchfield of this quintet (at least live, they are 5) comes out with guitar and voice for the opening cut before the full band adds their unique style to Crutchfield's songs. They remind me of Warehouse era Husker Du with fine pop hooks and just enough guts underneath. Although the band plays things in a more primitive style, it is quite striking and fits well as a contrast with light and dark working well together. I am happy finally to catch up with this band as I have heard interesting things and now see that it is quite effective on stage. As much as I love technical prowess, it always helps to see bands working their way up from the gut and into your head through steady body blows. Confused metaphors aside, the band really rocked tonight in a simple, direct, and highly effective manner.

Kurt Vile - Boy do I feel stupid. I really enjoyed seeing Kurt Vile and the Violators at three small and large shows at the Black Cat from 2009-2011, but have not been paying attention since then. This set reminded me of what a gifted songwriter he is. He and the band cooked up a great concoction of woven psychedelic rock with folk touches as well. I think the best connection for me was recalling some of the excellent music that was played between sets. I heard Spirit, the Velvet Underground, Flamin' Groovies, and Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd. Put that altogether and you have something like Kurt Vile and the Violators. Take Lou Reed, Randy California, the Groovies rhythm section and cover some Barrett songs--Voila, magic if it all comes together. Tonight it did and I will not make the mistake of moving Kurt Vile fade into my listening back burner again.

Internet Photo of the Night:

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