Kurt Vile sees off his second night at KOKO with a characteristic grin

KV and his Violators's second of two London shows was a woozy affair – just as it should be

At the risk of sounding like one of those ubiquitous, rage-inducing spoken word TV ads from British banks and fast food chains: this one goes out to the talkers, the mid-week pinters, the gig-goers for whom a good old catch-up is the real music to your ears. BOOOOOOOOOOO!

A good quarter of KOKO is having a natter throughout Kurt Vile’s set – the second of two sold out London shows – and it’s painfully obvious during a touching acoustic cover of John Prine’s ‘How Lucky’, which the two re-recorded together before Prine’s death in 2020. Vile is famously nonchalant, it would surely take a lot for the Philadelphian guitar maestro to lose it his cool, and tonight is no different as he plays along as if to silence anyway. That said, a surprising kick of the distortion pedal halfway through the song feels loud and abrasive and out of place; it’s hard not to see his wry smile as a, Now do I have you attention?

Kurt Vile - Like Exploding Stones

The rest of the evening is Vile kicking out the jams as he always does. Tracks from 2022’s (watch my moves) sound especially gorgeous, the synths of ‘Like Exploding Stones’ bouncing of his slide guitar to give it a poolside shimmer. A little breeziness is needed in this sweatbox of a venue, but the heat just adds to the 43-year-old’s signature calmative, lightly psychedelic sound. A Times review seemed to find it all a bit too languid, but isn’t that like going to a Death Grips show and complaining it was too noisy?

This is a woozy affair, just as it should be. People close their eyes and sway as they should to the echoey swirl of ‘Wakin On A Pretty Day’, while tracks like ‘Bassackwards’ add a bit of backbone with Vile using his acoustic both intricately and rhythmically. Vile seems to be having a blast, too, staying on stage after a cover of Silver Jews’ ‘Punks In The Beerlight’ to take us all in for longer than expected with his characteristic grin.

Kurt Vile & The Violaters are touring the UK until 25 June – get tickets here

Credit: Robin Little / Getty