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Photo Gallery: Kurt Vile at The Truman

Kurt Vile at The Truman. Photo by Aaron Rhodes.
Kurt Vile must own a shit-ton of guitars. The Pennsylvania singer-songwriter grabbed somewhere around ten of them, hit the road with his band, The Violators, and paid Kansas City a visit on February 27. Touring in support of his 2018 record "Bottle It In," Vile was equipped with many of his most inventive and psychedelic songs in years. Despite this wealth of equipment and material, however, Vile's 90 minute performance was somehow less than the sum of its parts.

From the moment he appeared on stage, to the moment he left it, Vile appeared acutely stiff. Each step he took was like an old western outlaw slowly pacing away from his rival before a duel. He'd often try to counter this with quick punches and swings of the arm after a verse, but this rigidity would often find its way into the music. While most of the set felt more stagnant than blissful, Vile's visceral soloing on "Wakin' On A Pretty Day" managed to puncture that feeling momentarily, as did "Skinny Mini," a hypnotic number from "Bottle It In" that features Vile's Bob Dylan-meets-Boomhauer free association vocal rambling that all but forced fans to crack a smile.

The evening was opened by Canadian country outfit The Sadies. This sharp-dressed bunch expertly wove together speedy, electric bluegrass numbers and somber instrumental tunes, occasionally breaking out a few crowd-pleasing show tricks -- watching two guitarists do each other's fretwork on a foot-stompin' solo is never not a thrill.

Full photo gallery here.

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