Vile Thoughts

16 Jul

ImageWith every email from the Majestic, Live Nation, Ticketmaster and the others, I search the listings for the concert that will be the “last one,” meaning the last show my older daughter and I see together before she ships off to college. Wouldn’t it be perfect if Queens of the Stone Age came to Detroit early? Couldn’t Tom Petty stray from his festival circuit for an intimate back catalog show at the Royal Oak Theater? How about convincing the Scissor Sisters to drop in at the Magic Bag the first week of August?

No, we will just have to look back years from now and laugh because of all shows, the “last one” was Kurt Vile and the Violators.

I like Kurt Vile, as I’ve mentioned before. He kind of sounds like Lou Reed and kind of looks like Sara Gilbert in her late Roseanne days. His hypnosis-with-a-beat style is good background music for creative projects or train rides. When I saw he was slated to play at the Magic Stick for $15 general admission, my daughter gamely agreed to go with me. We sat in the back next to the sound board and shared a diet Coke while the avid fans in front of us ordered light beer after light beer.

It was 9:15 before the opening act, the Swirlies, started their set … and they were downright dreadful: cacophonous, unintelligible and sloppy. It irritated me even more that the lone girl in the group was trapped behind a keyboard and microphone, adding only an occasional ethereal top note to the din. Dreadful and stereotypical … at least she didn’t have a tambourine.

ImageThe Swirlies slunk off at 10:00 and my energy began to flag. When it took an additional 30 minutes for Mr. Vile to finally take the stage, my daughter was yawning. He started playing those beautiful, hazy songs of his and I was nodding along to the beat – until he started jamming, stretching a three-minute song into a 10-minute song cycle, at which point I started nodding off. It didn’t help that I couldn’t see his face, not because I was too far away but because his hair is really long and he didn’t have a scrunchy. He also tended to fold in on himself when he was deep into playing, so from our vantage point he disappeared completely.

We got to 11:10 p.m. and I made my weary daughter a deal: three more songs or 11:30, whichever came first. The clock struck the half-hour, we ducked under the arms of the light beer-sodden fans shouting “I love you, Kurrrrrrt!” and we were out into the Detroit night.

I’m sure we have many a concert ahead of us, especially since she’ll be at NYU. (During the college tour, the guide pointed out that Lady Gaga once played a free concert there since it was her alma mater, which pretty much ensured my daughter’s application.) But this phase of our Detroit concert career may have ended, not with a bang but a whimper. Or at least a nasal whine.

See you on the flip side …




7 Responses to “Vile Thoughts”

  1. Pam Houghton July 17, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    Aww…too bad the concert was a disappointment. On the other hand, your daughter has many exciting things to look forward to. And you get to visit her in NYC. Woo-hoo!

    • lpon45 July 17, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

      I fully intend to take advantage of her low-price student tickets as often as possible!

  2. Debbie July 18, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    The scunchie comment kills me! Meanwhile, I do have a friend in a two person band who plays the tambourine. (She’s the vocalist with an acoustic partner who also duets with her.) Also, periodically, the harmonica. But she only plays early gigs, as I believe she might fall asleep herself if she had to play later than 11:)

    • lpon45 July 18, 2013 at 10:53 pm #

      I don’t have anything against tambourines or the women who play them. It’s just my feeling that in a lot of bands there isn’t a central, meaningful role for a female musician so they’re left underutilized and kind of only there to look cute. Now if only one of them had a spare scrunchie …

  3. July 21, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    love the Archie comic book image

    • lpon45 July 21, 2013 at 11:34 pm #

      I watched their TV show at every opportunity. Were you more a Betty fan or Veronica?

  4. marmaladefille October 16, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    I dig the scrunchie comment too. Made me laugh. Along with the image of him curling inward like a fall leaf…or Kurt Cobain.

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