Kurt Vile performed at Auditorium Shores the day after a bag of his equipment was stolen. Shantel Mitchell for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Shantel Mitchell for NPR

Kurt Vile performed at Auditorium Shores the day after a bag of his equipment was stolen.

Shantel Mitchell for NPR

SXSW Music Festival

Kurt Vile, Live In Concert: SXSW 2011

Kurt Vile's Saturday didn't start well: The Philadelphia singer-songwriter had a bag stolen overnight, which robbed him — and his terrific backing band, The Violators — of a good chunk of their signature sound. Vile uses an assortment of pedals to trick out recordings that somehow seem both primitive and polished, darkly acerbic and informed by the sounds of classic rock. But, without them, his music had to rely on its roots.

Fortunately, Vile has never used production as a crutch, and this half-hour set finds him easily accessing his songs' sturdy frames — and with no visible backstage distress or anxiety, either. The songs from Vile's newest album, Smoke Ring for My Halo, don't lose their sideways charm on an outdoor stage, or with limited equipment. Instead, they gain a bit of extra muscle, which they wear well.

Set List
  • "Hunchback"
  • "Jesus Fever"
  • "On Tour"
  • "Ghost Town"
Band Personnel
  • Kurt Vile - Guitars, Vocals
  • Rob Laakso - Bass, Sampler
  • Jesse Trbovich - Guitar, Harmonica, Sax
  • Mike Zanghi - Drums
[+] read more[-] less

More From Rock

Lydia Ainsworth performs "Afterglow" in the Optic Obscura installation during SXSW. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

All Songs Considered

Escape The Noise: Watch 9 Lullabies From Austin

Lydia Ainsworth, Phoebe Bridgers, L.A. Salami, Valerie June, Let's Eat Grandma and others sing us quiet songs on hotel beds and in art installations during SXSW.

Fear not a high kick. PWR BTTM perform during NPR Music's annual SXSW showcase at Stubb's in Austin, Texas. Adam Kissick for NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR/NPR

SXSW Music Festival

PWR BTTM Unleashes The Glitter At SXSW 2017

PWR BTTM, once two and now four members strong, brought glitter, humor and bombast to the stage at Stubb's this year.

Frank Turner performs on Mountain Stage this week. Amos Perrine/Mountain Stage hide caption

toggle caption Amos Perrine/Mountain Stage

Mountain Stage

Frank Turner On Mountain Stage

The hardcore troubadour makes his Mountain Stage debut, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va.

Frank Turner On Mountain Stage

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/520243747/520247277" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top