Kurt Vile, Lower Dens, Dark Dark Dark
The Forum, London
6th Dec 2012
Another Triple header for Willow Colios as he (just about) catches Kurt Vile, Lower Dens and Dark Dark Dark at the Kentish Town Forum.
I really like Dark Dark Dark. So itâs a shame that I catch just the last few tracks of their set! Final track âDaydreamingâ from their ‘Wild Go LP’ is achingly beautiful though and new record ‘Who Needs Who’ doesnât disappoint either.
Next on stage is Lower Dens and for what they lack in melodies they make up for in soundscapes that drift and shimmer. The concept of “songs” isn’t really what they are about. But when they pick up the pace and throw more rhythms and beats into the mix things get a bit more interesting. These are often strange sci-fi sounds that could soundtrack Fritz Langâs Metropolis or a 21st century equivalent.
Kurt Vile is on great form tonight. âJesus Fever’ really gets things going early on, sounding like Harmacy-era Sebadoh with itâs guitar sound. This is followed by âOn Tourâ about some of the perils, but mostly the pleasures of touring. Kurt Vile gets some Neil Young comparisons for his guitar style but thereâs also something of Young in Vileâs ethos, the songs and records just flowing out of him in an unforced way. As he sings on ‘On Tour’, “Itâs just me, being me, being free.”
The bass-free Violators offer triple guitar attack and Kurt has more effects pedals than you can shake a Fender mustang at. But Kurt Vile is equally at home on his own and the solo acoustic section of the gig is a highlight with âPeeping Tomboy’ a standout track. âI don’t wanna change but I don’t wanna stay the sameâ sings Kurt. Not wanting to grow up has been a recurring theme in rockânâroll, visited by loads of musicians, notably Tom Waits and many more before and since. Iâm sure itâs something most of us can identify with.
We get the full band back with combined 12 string acoustic and and 12 string electric action. âSociety is my friend’ is another highlight of the set but itâs âBaby’s Armsâ that sends the audience into silent reverence for the first time tonight. It’s been a pretty chatty crowd but this somehow shuts everyone up and gets the biggest cheer of the night. Kurt Vile can hardly deny the packed crowd an encore and we get a ride on the feedback drenched âFreak Trainâ. It’s a bit of a freak out, followed by Kurt donning an acoustic guitar once more for a cover of Bob Dylanâs âKnocking on Heavens Door’. And not a lighter on sight. Well there is one but he quickly thinks better of it and puts it away. And thank goodness for that. Itâs not a freakinâ U2 gig after all!
In My Time
Society is My Friend
Smoke Ring For My Halo
Knockinâ On Heavens Door
Words by Willow Colios. More writing by Willow on Louder Than War can be found here.