While Vintage Trouble front man Ty Taylor never actually mutters the immortal phrase ‘get on up’ – he frequently uses the line ‘I can’t even hear you’- he shares much in common with late godfather of soul, James Brown.
There’s the same intensity and ebullient showmanship, the unique dance steps, the incredible athleticism and a durable voice that leads the band’s adoring “troublemakers” up, down and sideways on a soulful roller coaster ride that half way through the set might be mistaken for a giant keep fit routine.
Where Brown’s spontaneity often left him lost in the moment, Vintage Trouble never lose their grip on the crowd. This is a genuine kick ass band that needs neither a horn section or any semblance of hype to draw the crowd to contrasting levels of excitement or soulful reflection.
Sure there are several Otis Redding style Memphis soul moments, but Ty doesn’t dwell on emotion for too long, though when he does explore more telling soulful balledic moments he’s closer to D’Angelo than his soul antecedents.
Vintage Trouble is a band that joyously connects with a cross generational and cultural audience via uplifting mid-set messages aimed at breaking down the barriers. Their commitment to their crowd is further exemplified by an unexpected finale which sees band leave the stage to hang out at the merch desk for well over an hour.
Vintage Trouble strike a balance between spectacle, intensity, deep soul, r&b and good old fashioned rock and roll. This after all is a band that has been touring with the likes of The Who, The Stones and AC/DC.
A very retro sounding pre-taped MC sets us up for a big intro, but the band surprisingly opens with the curiously low key, finger clicking ‘Soul Serenity’, before the explosive, tension breaking ‘Blues Hand Me Down’ on which guitarist Nalle Colt rips into the first of several ripping solos, as Ty indulges himself in the first of several elaborate spins.
Ty amplifies the sense of communality by bringing up the house lights up to check out the crowd’s swaying, dancing and grooving, and once satisfied he goes through an incredible dance routine only to find himself perpendicular to the mic stand. He also drops to his knees, races to the back of the drum riser and leaps into the crowd while never missing a note.
And yet while the showmanship will long remain in the memory if only for an on stage proposal which the bride apparently accepts, as well as Ty’s exploration of the mosh pit and dress circle before he dives from a ground floor balustrade into the crowd and body surfs back to the stage, the band never loses sight of the substance of their songs.
This is curiously exemplified by the guest appearance of Paloma Faith with three back up singers on a would be duet of ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’, which ends up with the two vocalists singing at, rather than with each other. It makes for great spectacle but fails to match the bands own musical output.
No matter, it breaks the set up nicely and they rock out on the booming ‘Angel City, California’ which sounds like the ‘Sticky Fingers’ era Rolling Stones and comes with a great chanted hook that the glimmer twins would surely love to have written. The song suddenly drops down, but subsequently rises again as Ty encourages the crowd to carry the chorus.
The ballad ‘Another Man’s Word’ is another highlight and leads to communal singing from a crowd that moment’s ago was leaping about with abandon.
Everything comes together seamlessly on the slide-led ‘Run Like The River’ as the band and crowd combine their energy levels on the song’s titular chorus line to take things up to another level in a demonstration of the power of soul, uptight and outasight!
Earlier on in the night Ty Taylor makes an impromptu entrance to introduce tonight’s guests Slydigs, who evoke everyone from Steve Marriott, Frankie Miller and The Faces to Oasis on a set full of bristling rock roll played over a wall of sound.
Vocalist Dean Fairhurst cuts a swaggering figure along side guitarist Louis Menguy, and the duo combine to great effect over a punchy rhythm section on the Liam Gallagher vocal styling of ‘Light A Fuse’ and the the stop-time rock & roll of ‘Stiff Upper Lip’, notable for its catchy hook. Their energetic set lights the fuse for a memorable night.
Review by Pete Feenstra
Photos by Mark Hughes at MHP Studios
Pete Feenstra presents his Rock & Blues Show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Tuesday at 19:00 GMT, and “The Pete Feenstra Feature” on Sundays at 19:00
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