live review... Kurt Vile and Lushes
Camden is no longer a hipster central of London. It may have been at one time when it was home to up and coming indie rock bands but now the rows of shops selling the same tourist appealing bongs, colourful sunglasses and beanies that spell "fucker" with the Chanel logo have taken that shine away and the only people left are the punks that charge kids to take photos with them. That being said, on the night Kurt Vile was played Camden's Electric Ballroom there was a flood of tote bags and bearded men wondering the streets waiting to see the American multi-instrumentalist. Support came from Lushes who scuffled on to the stage, saying "hello" in a very awkwardly funny way. The duo combined sounds in an unusual and experimental way with track including long outros and heavy beats from a drum machine making the wooden floor of the Electric Ballroom shake. Musically, Lushes were great, but their live show felt like it was missing something. It's always unfair to judge a band by a support slot though, and I feel like Lushes simply didn't suit Vile's slightly older crowd. Without a doubt though, Lushes could easily smash a headline show where they would find it a bit easier to engage the crowd who seemed to be unfortunately more interested in buying overpriced pints.
A solid ten or so minutes late, Kurt Vile and his band appeared on the stage with Vile's long hair blocking out the back lights. First impressions aren't the best as upon their arrival on the stage it took them a futher few minutes to make sure their guitars were in tune and everything was working... what were the roadies doing on the stage for so long? After you hear a "Come on!" from the crowd Vile responds with "Alright, alright" before going into On Tour flowing into Dust Bunnies. It's the third track, latest album's single Pretty Pimpin', which really gets the crowd going. There's nods and beers raised up high during the track, just not from the couple next to me who managed to somehow stay static the entire set. It feels as though Vile is at his most confident when he's focusing on his guitar solos which are all mesmerising. He flows through a set of undoubtly his best tracks, slowing it down for songs like Stand Inside and He's Alright. Vile brings his band back on for Jesus Fever and ends his set with Freak Train before leaving the stage and shortly returning for a few encores. He deifnitely manages to get the crowd caught up with his presence on the stage. Finishing the show with Lost My Head There, Kurt Vile brings out Warpaint's Stella Mozgawa to play drums.