Preview: Kurt Vile & The Violators at 9:30 Club

Photo by Marin A. Chavez.

Photo by Marin A. Chavez.

Kurt Vile & The Violators

Philadelphian indie rockers Kurt Vile & The Violators are rambling through the 9:30 Club on November 30 and December 1 in support of Vile’s 2018 release, “Bottle It Up.” If you’re wondering what to expect from the show, we have you covered.

Primarily, you’re going to hear the deeply satisfying culmination of over a decade of witty one liners, stream of conscious lyrics and enveloping guitar solos, which is the incredibly self-assured 2018 album of the year contender “Bottle It Up.”

Album cuts like “Bassackwards” exemplify the strength of Vile’s songwriting. At almost 10 minutes long, each second is purposeful, either deepening the immersion in Vile’s kaleidoscopic storytelling or enhancing the wry melancholy that give the simplest lyrics meaning.

Writing one song that stretches past the nine-minute mark, let alone three, is a bold proposition in the streaming age. A sprawling odyssey of an album that stands alone in its disinterest in catering to bite-sized consumption, “Bottle It Up” shines in its refusal to be compromised by trends.

You’re also getting a chance to hear the best of Vile’s career, so don’t sleep on Vile’s back catalog before the show. Vile has notched a series of creative and commercial breakthroughs this decade. From the Billboard charting “Smoke Ring For My Halo,” to the acclaimed “Wakin On A Pretty Daze,” to the breakout “b’lieve i’m goin down…,” to the easy chemistry of the Courtney Barnett collaboration “Lotta Sea Lice,” Vile has continuously evolved his sound.

With a setlist that often includes fan favorites from “Smoke Ring For My Halo” and even older material, concertgoers are liable to catch glimpses of each phase of Vile’s career.

Finally, you’re in line to watch one of the greatest guitarists of his generation. His foundation-laying work as one of the original members of retro-inspired heartland-rock outfit The War On Drugs has helped shape the direction of rock music since 2005, and every record released under his own name has featured unique and soulful guitarwork that can’t be mistaken for anyone else’s style.

Watching him perform live, you get the best opportunity to see the precision and mastery that goes into making the most laid-back and homespun sound in indie rock today. Don’t miss your chance to see this guitar mastery, and get tickets to his second show on December 1 the show here.

Photo courtesy of  Subbacultcha Belgium .

Photo courtesy of Subbacultcha Belgium.

Jessica Pratt

Supporting Kurt Vile & The Violators is Los Angeles-based folk artist Jessica Pratt. An expert of minimalism, Pratt spins songs that feel mystical with nothing beyond a guitar and her voice. With two well-received LPs under her belt and a third on the way in 2019, Pratt is poised for a breakout year.

Like her tourmate Kurt Vile, Pratt exudes a laissez faire, timeless cool. Songs like the 2015 cut “Moon Baby” would be fresh yet familiar in any year since the ‘60s. Others, like 2012’s “Night Faces” feel very much a part of this decade’s psychedelic folk renaissance a la Angel Olsen or Haley Heynderickx.

Those interested in testing the Pratt waters before the show have a few great options. First, you have to check out her excellent 2015 performance live on KEXP. That video really emphasizes how much space Pratt’s voice fills. Accompanied only by two guitars, each song feels like a little planet complete with its own atmosphere - I particularly recommend the performance of “Moon Baby” at the twelve-minute mark.

You’d also do well to check out the music video for her new single “This Time Around.” Even more impressionistic than her previous work, “This Time Around” might hint at the direction Pratt is heading on her forthcoming LP “Quiet Signs”. As a crafter of simultaneously ethereal and intimate sonic landscapes, Pratt might be the artist you wish you saw in 2018.