Indie artist mesmerizes at local venue

Feb. 19, Higher Ground sold out for Kurt Vile and The Violators.

With the will call line out the door, a sold out coat check and a full parking lot, Higher Ground was flooded with people.

The venue was so jam-packed that audience members  were forced all the way back near the entrance doors, making it nearly impossible to move.

Kurt Vile and The Violators took the stage shortly after 9:45 p.m., debuting Vile’s new album, “b’lieve I’m goin down…” 

Singer-songwriter Kurt Vile plays a set at Higher Ground Feb. 19.  JEN RAMIREZ/The Vermont Cynic
Singer-songwriter Kurt Vile plays a set at Higher Ground Feb. 19.
JEN RAMIREZ/The Vermont Cynic

As the band appeared, the crowd pushed toward the front rail. Wearing all gray, Vile waved and smirked as he took his place next to center mic.

Not long into the show, Vile played his recent hit “Pretty Pimpin.”

The crowd sang along to the lyrics, “I woke up this morning and didn’t recognize the man in the mirror.”

The bass from the song vibrated off the rear wooden bar, creating a rock and roll atmosphere that amped up the crowd.

“This song is about me,” Vile said just before playing “KV Crimes” from his 2013 album “Wakin On A Pretty Daze.”  The groovy rhythm of the electric guitar made it nearly impossible to stand still.

Crowd members raised their drinks to Vile’s guitar solos. It was mesmerizing to watch Vile’s fingers graze across the guitar strings.

Illuminated by a spotlight and the surrounding blue stage lights, he repeatedly pushed his long brown hair away from his face in a quirky way.

As the concert went on, Vile switched guitars between songs. He used an electric guitar for the upbeat songs “Freak Train” and “Pretty Pimpin” and then switched to an acoustic guitar for  slower songs like “Stand Inside” and “Walking on a Pretty.”

His ability to change instruments and create new environments with each song was amazing.

Vile succeeded in engaging the crowd with both his slow intimate songs and his more intense guitar songs.

After playing a short hour-long set, the crowd cheered for an encore.

Vile returned to the stage alone with only his acoustic guitar, encoring with “Baby’s Arms.”

It was amazing to see Kurt Vile live, however the set was far too short and left his fans wanting so much more.