Photography by Samantha Sweeney
On New Years’ Eve, Philly’s self-described constant hitmaker Kurt Vile rang in the new year with a surprisingly mellow yet rocking evening. Not straying far from the extravaganza promised, the night was filled with revelry, Jell-O shots at midnight, ironic year-end jokes, and, of course, Philly-grown and Philly-approved tunes.
First up, was banjo man Nathan Bowles. A man of few lyrics, the North Carolina native let his banjo do the talking with four orchestra-worthy songs on a single banjo. No guitar, drum, or bass–who knew the Deep South staple could be multilayered and quite beautiful?
Next up was the four-piece Woods. Aside from cracking their fair share of year-end jokes (“We’re really stoked. This is our last show of the year”), the troupe delivered a rollicking set, complete with a surprise appearance of the Man of the Hour Kurt Vile on trumpet.
Last but certainly not least, Kurt Vile and the Violators ended the show and the year on a spirited and hopeful note. A sign constructed with Vile’s name in Jell-O shots on the left side of the stage was the Ghost of 2016 past and a nod to the future; a Jell-O shot to wipe off 2016 was complimentary to all patrons of the show. Vile was boss as ever, shredding through his homegrown hits as easily as slicing through butter. Vile has the type of presence and charm that makes all of his work look effortless, right down his glorious lion mane (which he stated he was cutting off “next year”). Kicking off a new year in Philly was the best decision ever made, and Vile kicked it off with a seemingly random cover of Guns N Roses’ classic, “Sweet Child of Mine” as the balloons cascaded from the ceiling of the Fillmore.
Tell us your favorite way to ring in the new year!