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Kurt Vile and Real Estate hit Canada’s Capital

Although Kurt Vile may be recognized by many as a multi-talented musician, (Kim Gordon even mentioned him in an interview for Women’s Wear Daily), in Ottawa, his biggest fan base is consisted of less than 50 attendees. Having played Babylon on July 21st, with band Real Estate, this show would not be one to be missed in most cities where good music was appreciated, but in Ottawa, Ontario, the turnout is kind of dismal.

The members of Real Estate were about 40 minutes late showing up as they were caught in traffic on their way into town. Eventually they took the stage, and the band did not disappoint. Playing music that is extremely Westcoast in comparison to their hometown of Jersey; the band is extremely talented in producing the unexpected. Their sound was extremely mellow, and when they were asked about who their influences were, most of the band listed Television, from New York City. Although this proves to be contradictory in my description of their music, it is quite easy to hear the inspiration in the twangy guitar and intense, yet laid back drumming. I also asked the band how it felt to be on tour with Kurt Vile and Etienne (the drummer) and Martin (the singer) exclaimed that they were excited as they were fans of his music.

Kurt Vile was the headliner of the night; as much as I enjoy his music, when played as a record, his type of music is sort of hard to translate into a live performance. As a musician who considers his music to be “space pop,” the set was kind of boring, and he seemed to be more into playing his music for himself than engaging the crowd. Talking to Kurt after his set, the only thing that can really be said about him is that he’s very into his music, and himself… but nothing else.

When asked about how it felt to be produced by John Agnello, (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr.), he muttered something along the lines of “not knowing because he knew John before and just asked him to do it”. When asked why he was touring with Real Estate and if he picked the band himself he responded with, “I dunno. The label did it.” As talented as Kurt is, he’s obviously not much of a talker. I got more information out of his drummer, Mike, when talking about Kurt’s influences (The Dandy Warhols, Led Zepplin and especially My Bloody Valentine were some of the many bands Mike had mentioned). Regardless of social awkwardness, Kurt Vile is obviously multi-talented, having once been the lead guitarist of the band War on Drugs and now newly signed to Matador Records as he tours by himself, it is hard to give him credit where it is (musically) deserved. Kurt’s new album comes out this winter, and the first single will be released this fall, which is something to look forward to, for sure. Kim Gordon probably agrees.

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