TVD Live Shots: Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile with Jen Cloher at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, 10/26

When I first heard that Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile were coming out with a collaboration album, I had two thoughts: (1) musically speaking, that makes a ton of sense, and (2) this is gonna be a good album. (Spoiler alert: it is.)

Now, after watching them play together for the first of three Chicago shows in honor of the Empty Bottle’s 25th birthday, I wonder if it’s possible that they were separated at birth. Tall, slender, and flanneled, their long, dark hair covered their faces as their guitars and voices conversed with one another. Just two musical soulmates born across the world from each other, destined to meet to eventually spoil us all with their creative riches.

It was a memorable evening to say the least. It’s always a treat to see Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, but to see them play together was a full-on dessert tray. They seem perfectly paired, bouncing sounds back and forth. Their chemistry is natural, innate. It’s a fated partnership for sure—one that I hope will continue to give us a Lotta Sea Lice.

And aside from the grandeur of the setting (University of Chicago’s stunning Rockefeller Memorial Chapel), which also boasted some impressive acoustics, The Sea Lice (Courtney and Kurt’s backing band) was most impressive. No surprise there though, as it was Rob Laasko (of The Violators), Katie Harkin (touring member of Sleater-Kinney), and all-around incredible drummer and badass Janet Weiss (of Sleater-Kinney and Wild Flag). Put these five musicians on a stage together and great things are bound to happen.

Singer/songwriter Jen Cloher (who also happens to be Courtney’s wife) opened the evening, acknowledging that it was her first time performing in Chicago. In between her lovely songs she gave the crowd laughs with her anecdotes.


Over Everything
Let It Go
Fear is Like a Forest (Jen Cloher cover)
Continental Breakfast
Outta the Woodwork
On Script
On Tour
Life Like This
Blue Cheese
Dead Fox
Untogether (Belly cover)

Elvis Presley Blues (Gillian Welch cover)
Pretty Pimpin
Avant Gardener

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