Philly singer/songwriter/guitarist extraordinaire Kurt Vile, on tour behind his excellent new record b’lieve i’m goin down, played a sold-out show at the Fillmore in San Francisco on October 16th. With his band the Violators in tow, he kicked off the set with a couple b’lieve… tracks, the thumping “Dust Bunnies,” followed by lead single “Pretty Pimpin'” maybe the catchiest, most radio-friendly song Vile’s ever released. Five of the first six songs were new tracks, with Smoke Ring For My Halo‘s “Jesus Fever” the lone standout. In all, Vile’s 15-song setlist included eight of b’lieve i’m goin down‘s 12 tracks, plus the title track that didn’t actually make the cut of the final album. For an album recorded in parts in LA, Joshua Tree, Brooklyn, and Athens, GA, with an assortment of different musicians, the live renditions of the songs impressively capture the tone of their recorded counterparts.
San Francisco band Heron Oblivion (who just signed with Sub Pop) opened the night. Fronted by singer/drummer Meg Baird of the Espers (and a Philly ex-pat who’s sung backing vocals for Vile), the band set the tone for the night with some moody psych-folk/noise rock that was made all the more impressive when paired with Baird’s powerful, haunting voice.
A great bonus for the Fillmore show was the presence of Cass McCombs on the bill, one of only four shows he’s playing with Vile on this tour. McCombs was almost unrecognizable in a backwards baseball cap and Adidas shirt, a much sportier look that made even stranger by a decidedly funkier sound than longtime fans were accustomed to. The voice is still unmistakable though, and he circled back to more familiar territory for favorites like the always crowd-pleasing “Dreams Come True Girl.”
Check out photos and Kurt Vile setlist below:
Kurt Vile @ The Fillmore, October 16th, 2015
I’m an Outlaw
That’s Life, tho (almost hate to say)
Wakin on a Pretty Day
All in a Daze Work
B’lieve I’m Goin Down