El Rey Theater, Los Angeles, CA – 12/13/19
Pictures: Joe Schaeffer
If comparing a rock concert to a religious experience sounds a bit blasphemous to some, then I humbly offer up an apology. However, a VINTAGE TROUBLE show has that effect on people. Returning to Los Angeles for a homecoming show at the beautiful El Rey Theater, the band were greeted by an enthusiastic and loyal crowd.
Vintage Trouble formed in 2010 by guitarist Nalle Colt and vocalist Tyler Taylor. The duo added bassist Rick Barrio Dill and drummer Richard Danielson. Their goal was to compose songs with a mixture of R&B, Pop and Rock N Roll reminiscent of the great bands from the 60’s and 70’s.
Legendary Rock manager Doc McGhee convinced the band to travel to Europe where the fans would be open to a more “nostalgic” sound. The idea worked as the band landed the opening slot for Bon Jovi and performed for some huge crowds.
The band released their debut album “The Bomb Shelter Sessions” in 2012 and they were picked to open for The Who on their North American tour. The band would return to Europe playing some of the largest music festivals and eventually they released their sophomore effort “1 Hopeful Road” in 2015.
Vintage Trouble opened their L.A. set with “Total Strangers” a great rocker from their debut album. Lead vocalist Taylor took control of the night right from the start. He is an entertaining front man, dancing and strutting across the stage like a reincarnation of the legendary James Brown. They followed with “Doin’ What You Were Doin’,” one of my favorite songs by the band. The lyrics of the song hearken back to the late 1960’s when many artists composed songs of social awareness.
The band didn’t shy away from performing some of their newer material, something you don’t see most artists doing these days. “My Whole World Stopped Without You” has such a classic feel that I feel like I’d have to listen to this song on vinyl. You just don’t hear music like this anymore. Taylor’s vocals were passionate, and the man has a truly amazing voice. He was joined by recent edition Tawny Dooley on backing vocals.
Other highlights included “Nancy Lee,” “Run Like the River” which featured some amazing slide work from guitarist Colt. I must mention the song “Pelvis Pusher” which is one those fun songs that makes you want to get up and shake your ass. If you haven’t seen the video, I highly recommended it.
I was thoroughly impressed with an instrumental the band performed called “Get It.” Taylor left the stage while the remaining members were given the spotlight. Colt, Dill and Danielson along with keyboardist Erskine are definitely seasoned players as each member grabbed their moment in the spotlight.
I can’t review a Vintage Trouble show without touching on lead vocalist Ty Taylor again. As I mentioned before, he is one of the most dynamic and entertaining front men to ever grace a stage. Believe me, I’ve been fortunate enough to see most of the greats. Taylor never stops dancing and interacting with his audience. It was stunning to see him dive backwards into the audience while he body surfed over the crowd. At one time he literally did a hand stand while the crowd held him up in the air.
The band closed the show with a couple great numbers “Jezzebella” and “Knock Me Out.” They returned for much deserved encore of “Blues Hand Me Down.” I still remember the first time I saw the band perform the song on the Late Show with David Letterman. I became an instant Vintage Trouble fan after that performance.
Is a Vintage Trouble concert comparable to a religious experience? Taylor and his crew can take it back to church with a sound and excitement that’s been missing from Rock N Roll for a long time. No bombs, no fancy lights…just a show that gets everyone involved for a good, good time. They have an eclectic fan base that comes together in perfect harmony. Definitely a beautiful sight and sound to experience.
I must give a special shout out to the opening act Hollis Brown. This quintet based out of New York had some great material that connected with the crowd.