In 2022, the word “vibes” has become a beaten to death buzzword that will be used to loosely define whatever feeling you can associate it with. From a writers perspective, summing something up as a vibe seems lazy and, at the same time, somewhat humorous. Perhaps that’s why it’s the only word I could find to sum up Kurt Vile’s show at First avenue last night. His style of music is just that. The vocals are lazy, the songwriting can, at times, be just ramblings of being high or describing places, and the guitar playing can both be amateurish, while at the same time – stratospheric. Yet it’s this kind of v i b e that drew fans to first avenue on a rainy wednesday evening for Vile’s first appearance in Minneapolis since 2017.
Vile’s songs are hypnotically rotating. Melodies and guitar jams that you swear could last hours if they wanted to, but with lyrics and vocals that seem like they could be improvised on the spot, If you’re not familiar with Vile’s style of songwriting already. Ive often spoke about the mundane, everyday songwriting style of artists like Courtney Bartnett (whom Vile collaborated and toured with a few years back) And while it may be considerably different, and perhaps a bit more boring than many other songwriters out there today, Vile’s songs, much like Courtney Barnett’s, become much more entertaining once you’re in on the joke. Or high.
Vile is here touring behind his newest, full length album (watch my moves), which is also his ninth studio album. Tonight’s show was heavy on the newer material, Opening with Palace of OKV in Reverse and included other tracks, Flyin (Like a Fast Train) and Like Exploding Stones and Cool Water. Highlights of the night included two of Vile’s more well known jams, Wakin on a Pretty Day from 2013’s Wakin on a Pretty Daze and Pretty Pimpin’ from 2015’s b’lieve i’m goin down. As well as a Silver Jews cover of Punks in the Beerlight Vile said “The band and I have played every day since we got back together.” Fans seemed to be pleased with the setlist as a whole, with some of the loudest applause of the night for Wakin on a Pretty Day. Vile wasnt very talkative with the crowd tonight, sans a few thank you’s and calling us a beautiful audience.
In interviews with musicians these days, many artists seem to be against labeling their music a certain genre. They don’t want to be pegged for one specific type of music. Vile’s blend of humorous lyrics in a song with layers of guitar jamming, and a blend of instruments from all over the place, puts him squarely in his own genre, which is where many musicians these days strive to be. In a word, it’s a vibe.