November 21, 2014
First Unitarian Church
Los Angeles, California
Day 21 of Red Bull’s 30 Days in LA took a turn for the mellow with Kurt Vile and The Violators playing at the First Unitarian Church in Los Angeles. With support from Air Review and Little Tybee, it was a night of uplifting music perfectly suited for such a hallowed space.
The setting was perfect for the intimate set and a genuine treat for those who enjoy an opportunity to stay seated during a rock show (this may have been too relaxed a setting, as by the end of the almost two-hour set there were a handful of people who had drifted off).
Vile is a soft-spoken man of few words when it comes to stage banter; every now and then a wry smile will peek out from behind that cascade of brown curls, but otherwise he lets his guitar do the talking. Those moments when he snaps out of his sedated state and breaks into shouts and growls sent much-needed jolts of energy into the audience.
The night’s set switched between solo acoustic songs from Smoke Ring for My Halo and drawn-out stoner jams from Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze, with Vile backed by The Violators. From light and airy to heavy and raucous, the transition from song to song was jarring but necessary to avoid being lulled into blissful sleep. Tracks like “Hunchback” and “Freak Train” exploded like fireworks, dripping with fiery guitar licks that filled the pews with their massive sound.
Later on, Stella Mozgawa of Warpaint joined The Violators to play drums, returning the favor that Kurt paid them during Warpaint’s Red Bull show a few weeks prior when he joined in on their performance of “Baby.” Overall, it was an epic set of rock lullabies and folksy experimentation that lit up the First Unitarian Church for a uniquely different crowd.