Heading on over to Terminal 5 for the last time this year held a different type of excitement for me; thoughts of all the gigs I covered, the places I traveled and the people I met had me in fine spirits for Kurt Vile and Woods. Getting there a little after 8, it was surprising to me that T5 was nearly full, which on a Wednesday sandwiched between Christmas and NYE and with other big names down the street, is a feat that Mr. Vile should be proud of.
Woods opened the night for me (Nathan Bowles was up first but missed his set) and really impressed with tight jams that were highlighted by the ultra-talented Jeremy Earl and his fantastic voice and deft guitar work – all while multiple horns and a super solid backing section wailed in perfect harmony. The last time we caught the Brooklyn band was at Northside Festival in 2014 and while they were decent, they have grown leaps and bounds and enjoyed their set as much as any opening band this year. If you dig My Morning Jacket, get into these guys, you’ll be happily surprised.
After a quick turnaround, Kurt Vile emerged from the darkness with a smile that you could see from the third deck, strode to the mic and emphatically said “I Love you all.” That simple, but effective gesture would provide a theme for the night and the love fest was on as The Violators eased into “Dust Bunnies.”
Vile would strap the banjo on for “Outlaw” and the funky tune had the nearly full-house dancing away to it’s odd, but fun time signature. The jangly “Jesus Fever,” from 2011’s Smoke Ring From My Halo would follow with hazy and flowing lyrics that was ear pleasing. Other highlights from the night were the 2015 hit “Pretty Pimpin’,” which showed Kurt Vile’s prowess as a lyricist and the dreamlike “Walkin On A Pretty Day.”
All-in-all it was a fantastic night seeing Kurt Vile and his impressive band for the first time, the audience was as respectful a group seen in NYC and if you’re in Boston tonight, or Philly tomorrow or NYE, catch this show for a low-key good time.
Article: Shayne Hanley