Review: Kurt Vile @ Union Transfer – 11/12/11 (+ pics, videos, setlist)

Kurt Vile returned home last night to play Union Transfer for the first time in front of a packed crowd. The 15-song set relied heavily on Vile’s latest full-length Smoke Ring for My Halo, with eight of the album’s ten songs being performed. Vile also played two songs from his new six-song EP So Outta Reach, plus three songs from 2009′s Childish Prodigy. He rounded out the set with one song from each of his first two albums, Constant Hitmaker and God Is Saying This To You.

Vile sauntered on stage around 10:15 to kick off the set with “Blackberry Song” by himself before bringing out his band The Violators, with the added treat of Adam Granduciel from The War On Drugs thanks to a break in their own tour. Kurt kept quiet throughout most of the show, expressing his gratitude with quiet “thank you”‘s between a few songs. Unfortunately, this worked against him during a few lengthy tuning breaks between songs, which hurt the flow of the show a little bit. Awkward silences can only hurt so much though and are easily forgotten when you perform a set as good as Vile’s.

In the early part of the show, highlights included “Jesus Fever,” “Runner Ups,” and “Ghost Town.” Kurt kicked it up a notch around the halfway mark with a pounding rendition of “Freak Train,” which kicked off a fantastic second-half. After solo performances of “Pepping Tomboy” and “My Best Friends,” The Violators closed out the main set with two more Halo songs “Puppet to the Man” and “Society is My Friend.” After a brief encore break, Vile came out with drummer Mike Zanghi for a beautiful performance of “Baby’s Arms.” The full band then closed out a great 90-minute set with two songs from the So Outta Reach EP, “Laughing Stock” and a cover of Springsteen’s “Downbound Train.”

Below, check out some pics from the show plus the setlist. There are also a couple of videos you can find linked to within the setlist. You can view the full set of photos here. By the way, Adam Granduciel will be back at Union Transfer with his own band The War On Drugs on December 17th. Sun Airway and Ape School will open the show. More information is available here.

* All photos © Kevin Kennedy 2011

Kurt Vile @ Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA – Saturday, November 12, 2011
01 Blackberry Song (Kurt solo)
02 Runner Ups
03 Jesus Fever
04 On Tour
05 Freeway
06 Ghost Town
07 Hunchback
08 Freak Train ()
09 Peeping Tomboy (Kurt solo)
10 My Best Friends (Kurt solo)
11 Puppet to the Man
12 Society is My Friend
——encore break——
13 Baby’s Arms (
video)
14 Laughing Stock
15 Downbound Train (Bruce Springsteen cover)

* Whole show with The Violators plus Adam Granduciel on guitar unless otherwise noted

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