Kurt Vile as a Squirrel Has Convinced Me to Watch HBO's "Animals"

He's also added more tour dates so get pumped for that!
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Claire Lower
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He's also added more tour dates so get pumped for that!

Sometimes it's the silliest things that give me deep joy. Kurt Vile as a squirrel is one of those things, and it has convinced me to give HBO's "Animals" a try.

This makes me so, so happy.

This makes me so, so happy.

The first time I ever heard Kurt Vile was on a mixed CD my roommate gave me when I moved from Tampa to Gainesville to finish my degree. The song was "Freeway," and it quickly became my Song of the Semester. 

A tune doesn't get much groovier than this. It has a lazy summer in the 70's aesthetic that reminds me of a fuzzier, shaggier Tom Petty, and it was in my constant rotation for a solid year. This song spurred an intense interest in this Pennsylvanian troubadour.) 

During that year, I went to Delaware for an internship, and saw a few shows in Philadelphia over that summer. It was during that time that I went to a Black Keys show, only to find that the original opener (I forget who) had called in sick, and Vile and stepped in to sub.

I was delighted, but the light beer-swigging bros behind me were less so. (Sidebar: Though I haven't been to a Black Keys show in a long time, they always seem to attract a volatile mixture or hipsters and bros, two groups that don't get along all that well. It makes for an exciting, if somewhat annoying concert going experience.)

The bros shouted and booed, but Vile was really good humored about it, and almost seemed to enjoy the negative attention. I went up to him after the show to tell him that I enjoyed his performance. "Sorry those guys were rude," I told him, as if I were apologizing for friends of mine. (To be fair, I had chatted with them briefly before the show, and felt a little guilty for not telling them to be cool, because I am basically a hall monitor in the hall of life.) 

"Thanks man, but it's fine. I love it. I feed off of it," said a not at all bothered Vile. He seemed genuinely unaffected by the boos, which is a skill I wish to acquire some day. He was the embodiment of chill, and talking to him had a kind of calming effect on me. He also had really good hair.

This squirrel gives me a similar sense of calm. (And also has really great hair.)

Not only does this clip from HBO's "Animals" have a super chill Kurt Vile squirrel "in the fur," it also touches on some of the more annoying aspects of indie culture. There's the classic smug fansplaining and gate-keeping from the "real fan" dude squirrel, all of which is quickly shot down by the female squirrel (charmingly voiced by my new imaginary best friend, Claudia O'Doherty.) There's a bit of autograph shaming, which is a personal peeve of mine. I get that some people want to seem cool in front of celebrities and musicians, but I'm not wired that way, and I'm not going to apologize for my excitement.

As if this wasn't enough, there's a psychedelic song about "eatin' and goin' nuts," which Squirrel Vile serenades his fellow furry friends with while they chomp down on packs of "Lanterns" mixed nuts.

This one little excellent clip has convinced me to give the show a try, though it's never really appealed to me before. This is great news, because I just finished binging "Love" and "House of Cards," and need some lighter, sillier fare as a brain cleanser.

Even more good news is the fact that Vile is on tour, and has added more dates:

  • 03-31 Buffalo, NY - Asbury Hall 
  • 04-01 Cleveland Heights, OH - Grog Shop 
  • 04-02 Columbus, OH - Newport Music Hall
  • 04-03 Bloomington, IN - The Bluebird 
  • 04-05 Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theater 
  • 04-06 Champaign, IL - The Accord 
  • 04-06-10 Iowa City, IA - Mission Creek Festival 
  • 04-08 Lawrence, KS - The Granada 
  • 04-09 Omaha, NE - The Waiting Room 
  • 04-11 Columbia, MO - The Blue Note 
  • 04-12 Tulsa, OK - Cain's Ballroom 
  • 04-14 Houston, TX - House of Blues 
  • 04-15 Austin, TX - Stubb's Waller Creek Amphitheatre 
  • 04-16 Dallas, TX - Granada Theater 
  • 04-17 New Orleans, LA - Republic New Orleans 
  • 05-20-22 Gulf Shores, AL - Hangout Festival 
  • 05-28 Burnaby, British Columbia - Deer Lake Park 
  • 06-09-12 Manchester, TN - Bonnaroo Festival 
  • 06-28 Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso Grote Zaal 
  • 06-30 Berlin, Germany - Columbia Theater 
  • 07-01 Gdynia, Poland - Open'er Festival 
  • 07-04 Poggio Renatico, Italy - Piazza Castello 
  • 07-05 Sestri Levante, Italy - Mojotic Festival 
  • 07-07 Paris, France - Philharmonie de Paris 
  • 07-09 Liege, Belgium - Les Ardentes 
  • 07-10 Bruges, Belgium - Minnewarerpark 
  • 07-12 Lugano, Switzerland - Longlake Festival 
  • 07-15 Southwold, England - Henham Park 
  • 07-16 Coimbra, Portugal - Parque das Nações 
  • 07-22 Camden, NJ - XPoNential Music Festival ^ 
  • 07-22-24 Oro Medonte, Ontario - WayHome Music & Arts
  • 07-24 New York, NY - Panorama Festival 
  • 07-25 Norfolk, VA - The NorVA 
  • 07-27 Indianapolis, IN - Old National Centre 
  • 07-28 Chicago, IL - Lollapalooza 
  • 07-29-31 Montreal, Quebec - Osheaga Music & Arts Festival
  • 08-07 Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl 
  • 08-12-13 Berkeley, CA - Greek Theatre at U.C. Berkeley 
  • 08-17 Morrison, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheatre ^ 
  • 08-19 Madison, WI - Breese Stevens Field 
  • 08-20 Minneapolis, MN - Historic Hall's Island 
  • 08-21 Maquoketa, IA - Codfish Hollow Barn 
  • 08-27 Lancaster, PA - Chameleon Club 

^ with Ryan Adams

Is anyone else excited about Kurt Vile's tour? Have you watched "Animals"? What shows are you currently binging on?