words + photos: Everly Jazi
“This song goes out to Chastity Belt for no reason,” Kurt Vile told his Seattle fans at the Moore Theatre on Saturday.
After his dedication to the city’s hometown band, whose members were in the audience, Vile launched into “Mutinies” for the full house. Earlier that night, Vile and his touring band of three, the Violators, played for an audience seated in tight rows. After a couple of sounds, Vile took out his acoustic guitar for new favorite “Bassackwards” and the crowd cheered, running to the front of the theater.
“Thanks for making it a dance party,” Vile sang to the fans as more came down from their seats.
In a night of multiple guitar changes, Vile grabbed a banjo for 2015’s “I’m an Outlaw.” The metallic rhythm flowed in a cool, bop manner and Vile let out a pure scream. The audience screamed too and Vile, being the master of vocal sound effects, gave a “whoop” and went on with his solo over the bridge.
He started the new track, “Check Baby,” with a resonating intonation screened with reverberating synth effects on his mic. The spotlight zeroed in on Vile, while the Violators—Kyle Spence on the drum kit, and Jesse Trbovich and Rob Laakso both on a rotation of guitars, bass, keys and synth—were made out in hints of light and the occasional strobe. Vile went into his twangy electric guitar solo, playing scales up and down, as the steady cymbal and kick drum combination remained constant. The band did not stray away from long jams, often playing a repetition of instrumentals for the duration under Vile’s changing riffs.
After a series of grounded electric tracks, Vile dove right into the more diverse “Girl Called Alex” with his fingerstyle acoustic guitar melody. The Violators held tight, until the drums came in, creating a full, groovy sound. Melodic synth came in and Vile felt its power with an audible “yeah.” The track turned more metal than the studio album with Vile shouting and Trbovich’s electric guitar letting out scratchy tones. It all came to a calculated, upbeat outro, Vile scatting a bit and showing off his vocal effects.
“This reminds me of the old MTV-type shows,” Vile said.
The band went right into the red-strobed, upbeat “Yeah Bones.” Vile’s 12-string electric guitar riff twirled and returned, as he rambled on. The band kept showing off their talent, Laakso’s vibrato arm moving up and down, and Trbovich’s quick bass progression carrying the tune.
“Just four good ol’ boys that were meaning no harm,” Vile said of the performers.
The band played the ever-popular track “Waking on a Pretty Day” almost exactly as it appears on the LP. With his genuine aura, and healthy mix of carelessness and depth, Vile finished out the set, ending the rich and intimate set.