Monday 4 February 2013

Vintage Trouble

We saw The Who back in November, doing their fantastic new Quadrophenia tour.  So why is it I am writing here about the supporting act, Vintage Trouble?

Vintage Trouble opened for The Who with a high energy act that absolutely defines high energy.  From the opening seconds until they left the stage with the audience in their pockets, they absolutely sizzled.  So now I have their album, The Bomb Shelter Sessions, and I get to write about that too.

It is always interesting to compare a live act with their studio output.  With any good band what you are looking for is the ability to build upon their studio references and deliver a statement that reflects an honest performance, and not just a live replica.  In other words, you should never be your own tribute band.  So why am I writing all this?  Well, because there were surprising stylistic differences between Vintage Trouble on stage, and Vintage Trouble on disc.

Here is my impression of the live act: Imagine The Red Hot Chili Peppers getting together for the first time, but for some reason Anthony Kiedis gets cold feet, or changes his mind.  Anyway, for some reason he doesn't show.  Then along comes James Brown who says "Man, I feel good! How 'bout I join YOUR band!".  This is what we listened to for one high-octane hour in the Bell Center in Montreal.  Kudos to The Who for putting on an opening act fully capable of upstaging them!  In the end, of course, nobody upstages Pete Townshend.

The studio album, The Bomb Shelter Sessions, comes across quite differently.  More mainstream R&B, a la "The Commitments".  More Stevie Ray Vaughn than James Brown.  More Blues than Soul. But more music than posturing - these guys can really play, and Ty Taylor can really sing.  And they do so with the poise of a band that's been steadily polishing their act for twenty years, not the mere two years that they have been in existence.  More '70's than '10's in the sense that back in those days substance counted for more than style.  Substances too, as I recall.

I'm sure you'll enjoy The Bomb Shelter Sessions.  There is a vinyl release too, but no word on whether it was mastered more carefully than the sonically disappointing CD.