Published Jul 23, 2011Matador labelmate and kindred spirit Kurt Vile opened up for Thurston Moore's first solo appearance in Vancouver, and definitely ended up with a handful of new fans after his blistering set. Taking tracks culled mostly from Childish Prodigy and the recent Smoke Ring for My Halo, Vile and his Violators stomped through a set much louder and intense than his normally laid-back recordings. Featuring three guitarists and a drummer, the four-piece did what many bands fail to do at the high-ceilinged, concrete-walled Rickshaw Theatre -- fill it. With his long brown hair obscuring his face for most of the show, Vile let loose a storm of fuzz-filled rock to the packed crowd and undoubtedly left many with their ears ringing.
Moore, usually the one known for leaving audiences with bouts of tinnitus, was much more reserved. Of course that was to be expected after the recent release of his third LP of formal songs, the sombre Demolished Thoughts. Moore's band featured several big names in underground and experimental music, including Samara Lubelski on violin, Matt Heyner of No Neck Blues Band on bass, John Maloney of Sunburned Hand of the Man on drums, Keith Woods of Hush Arbors on guitar. Moore even brought along a harpist. Together the six-piece brought a lushness to the songs from Demolished Thoughts and a few from 2007's Trees Outside the Academy that go unheard on those subdued long players.
The front of the stage was jam packed with a younger audience, many of whom were most likely catching their first glance of the Sonic Youth frontman, and they undoubtedly left with an impression of the musician that rarely gets seen. There were no drum sticks jammed into the strings or wailing feedback, just Moore with an acoustic guitar and a backing band of longtime friends, all clearly enjoying themselves onstage.
Despite a few desperate pleas from the audience, there weren't any appearances of songs from Moore's much-loved 1995 record Psychic Hearts. Songs from that more raucous sounding record, as great as it is, would have distracted from an already beautiful set of music.