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

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

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

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

Cold Beat graces the WAMU studio. Rhiannon Newman/WAMU hide caption

itoggle caption Rhiannon Newman/WAMU

Music

Cold Beat, 'Broken Lines' (Live)

Grass Widow's bassist has a new indie-pop band, which mixes rich harmonies with dark subject matter.

A still from The Armed's "Paradise Day." Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist

All Songs TV

First Watch: The Armed, 'Paradise Day'

An office worker incites a hedonistic karaoke mosh pit in a short film for the hardcore band.

Tiny Desk Concert with Hop Along. Maggie Starbard/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Maggie Starbard/NPR

Tiny Desk

Hop Along

Frances Quinlan's raspy voice whispers one moment, then lets loose a gut-punching howl the next.

Tiny Desk Concert with Timothy Showalter, songwriter and producer of Strand of Oaks. Maggie Starbard /NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Maggie Starbard /NPR

Tiny Desk

Strand Of Oaks

Timothy Showalter's music is filled with bite and sometimes regret, but also a good deal of warmth.

Patrick Watson performs 'Hearts' live on KCRW. Larry Hirshowitz/KCRW hide caption

itoggle caption Larry Hirshowitz/KCRW

Favorite Sessions

Patrick Watson, 'Hearts' KCRW-FM

Watch the Montreal singer bring the lush, layered, atmospheric "Hearts" to Morning Becomes Eclectic.

Back To Top