Live Review: Soft Pack + Kurt Vile + Hurling Piss at Triple Rock
As the creepy and troubling saying goes, there are a million ways to skin a cat. The triple bill of bands Monday night at the Triple Rock Social Club showed that there are a million (or at least three) ways to make “indie rock,” each having their distinct advantages and downfalls.
Up first was the trio Purling Hiss, who sounded and looked a lot more like a 90’s grunge revivalist band than their recorded output I had heard led me to believe. Instead of the buzzing, damaged tape hiss rock of their album Public Service Announcement, they were long haired guys with ripped jeans who played blistering rock and roll. Their short, 30 minute set even ended with a charging song that wouldn’t have seen out of place in the world occupied by Neil Young worshiping Pearl Jam type bands of the Clinton years. While it wasn’t bad, it was slightly disappointing and didn’t live up to what I was hoping for based off their pretty stellar latest album.
Next up was Kurt Vile, who was touring behind his Square Shells EP. Playing lots of new material with a few old nuggets (“Freak Train,” “ Hunchback”), Vile played what ended up being an underwhelming set. While I still really enjoy his Neil Young through a fuzz vacuum haze-noise folk sound collages, Monday was my third time seeing him and was a bit of a let down. Maybe it was because I don’t know the new songs as well yet, but the material seemed to drag on and meander unnecessarily. The lackluster crowd, who could barley muster a response to Vile’s “How is everyone,” didn’t help the cause. While I still really like his studio recordings, Vile is going to have to change something up to keep me engaged if I am to check him out any more times in the future.
While the already small crowd gathered for Kurt Vile dissipated even further for the nights “headliners” The Soft Pack (Vile and the Soft Pack are sharing the top of the bill), that didn’t stop the band from giving the evenings best performance. The band highlighted the songs from their underrated debut, self titled album from earlier in the year over their short, concise 40 minute set. While it can’t be easy playing to an empty room (I think I counted 45 people), the four piece didn’t let it bring them down and tore through their punchy, melodic punky pop songs for the small but energetic crowd. With their bright, pop driven sound and collection of really solid should be hits (including set highlights “Answer to Yourself,” “Down on Yourself” and “More of Less”), it was a little disappointing that their greaat set wasn’t rewarded with a bigger crowd.
See Jon’s whole photo spread from the show HERE.