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Concert Review: Kurt Vile & The Violators - Graham, NC

(Photo Credit: Anna Chaney)

On a cool Thursday evening I made my way to the village of Saxapahaw, North Carolina. Kurt Vile was playing a sold-out show, postponed from April; a giddy crowd slowly filed in through the turnstile entrance to secure their spot.

A large part of why this concert felt so magical is because of the setting: nestled in a former warehouse, this solar-powered riverside venue boasts three floors, a fluorescent-lighted sarcophagus in the floor vents, and a hefty disco ball at the center.

The Saxapahaw community that made up the crowd is filled with denim, cowboy hats and mustaches aplenty - a modern hippie utopia. Like most concerts I’ve witnessed since moving to the south, this crowd is friendly as ever - everyone remembers we’re all here for the same reason.

Kurt casually walks on with his band, picks up the guitar, and off he went. He plays several tracks from his newest album, (watch my moves), and intersperses all the classics: "Pretty Pimpin", "Wakin On A Pretty Day", "Bassackwards", and the like.

“Shout-out guitar man,” he exclaims while changing guitars, which happened more times than I could count. Guitar man waits silently to stage left, ready to go upon every song ending. The intimate show continues and KV jams out like no other, inserting more chilling screams than on the original recorded tracks.

“We’ve been on the road for a couple of days… it’s just the way we live.” It sounds like he’s singing another simple lyric from one of his talk-singing tracks. The crowd cheers.

Soon enough the show was over and the crew walks off the stage, only to come right back for their several-song acoustic encore. “You’re beautiful. Too beautiful. … Distracting,” Kurt says cooly before closing the show with his track Cool Water.

Overall, the show was phenomenal. My only complaint is that I wish it was longer. But that’s just me wanting the music to never end.

Be sure to check him out at one of his upcoming New England and Canada tour dates this fall.

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