Fresh out of the studio, having recorded the follow-up to The Bomb Shelter Sessions, Vintage Trouble recently made a welcome return to the UK.
After an extensive UK arena tour as a special guest to British soul singer Paloma Faith the band embarked upon a sold out headline UK tour to road test some of their new material.
Vintage Trouble were joined throughout the tour by DJ and vinyl aficionado, “The Soul Selector”, Tom “Papa” Ray, who has toured with them on several occasions in the US and has been a great supporter of the band since their early days.
Tom has a radio show on KDHX in St Louis as well as a record store,”Vintage Vinyl”, which was recently voted as one of the top ten record stores in the US by USA Today. Papa Ray warmed up the audience and got the crowd dancing each night spinning a superb selection of rare vintage soul and blues.
Vintage Trouble have a long running relationship with the city of York, having played now almost legendary shows at Fibbers over the last few years, it was no surprise that this show sold out within a couple of days. Fibbers has now moved to a new location but still has a lot of the character of its previous incarnation; intimate, packed to the rafters, and hot and sweaty as the TroubleMakers have come to expect.
Vintage Trouble has always been known for their show openings and this tour was no different. The band started their set each night with an incredible new intro “Heavy Days”, an up -tempo, retro, rock and roll number, which sounded like it could have come straight out of the 50s. Itâ€™s hard to believe that this was not a track from the new album, but rather something the band had pulled together in sound check in York. It sounded amazing.
Wasting no time the band unleashed some of their new material on the unsuspecting gathering of TroubleMakers at Fibbers. Vintage Trouble included in their set the mesmerizing “If You Loved Me”, a beautiful, soulful number, with a very catchy riff. It will be a big track for the band for sure. In contrast, “Angel City” is a complete barn stormer. An up-tempo, rocky number, that Ike and Tina Turner would have been proud of.
Not just an accomplished DJ, but also a superb harp player, Tom “Papa” Ray joined the band on stage for a rather special rendition of “You Better Believe It”. To add a bit more heat to the proceedings of the soul inferno, which Fibbers had become, the band were joined onstage by a couple of dancing girls for “Pelvis Pusher”.
Vintage Trouble later headed south to another sold out show, this time at Motion in Bristol. The venue was a huge old warehouse with an arty vibe, and you would expect nothing less from the home of Banksy. Tonight in attendance was one of the bands most loyal TroubleMakers, Keighley Yorkshire, who was celebrating attending her 100th show to which the band made a dedication from the stage and presented her with a celebratory cake.
The Bristol crowd was treated to “Lover Leave Me Be” which has rarely been heard since the bandâ€™s early days in LA and even less frequently outside of the US. Bristol got their appetite whet for the new album with some superb rock and soul in the form of “My Heart Won’t Fall Again” and “Doin What You Were Doin”, alongside all of the old favorites from the bandâ€™s debut album “The Bomb Shelter Sessions”, like “Nancy Lee”, “Blues Hand Me Down”, and “Nobody Told Me”.
Ty Taylor, never afraid to press the flesh with the audience, made his way through the crowd to the balcony during “Run Like The River”, leaving Nalle Colt, Rick Barrio Dill, and Richard Danielson to keep the groove on stage as Ty overlooked the sea of TroubleMakers in attendance, engaging them as they sing back the chorus, “Run Baby Run”.
London has been almost a second home for the band ever since their appearance on the BBCâ€™s “Later with Jools Holland show” in 2011. Tonight the band played one of their largest headline concerts in the capital with a sold out show at the prestigious Koko in Camden, a venue which has recently hosted high profile shows to the likes of Prince and Kanye West. Koko is a beautiful art deco theatre, vintage in character, and perfectly appropriate for the band, with several tiers of the balcony and an elegant mirror ball adorning the ceiling above.
The room was heaving with eager TroubleMakers, a significant number of whom had travelled across the world for the show, from France, Japan, and the USA to name but a few of the nationalities represented. The band was also watched on by their manager the legendary Doc McGhee of Kiss, Motley Crue, and Bon Jovi fame.
Tonight Vintage Trouble were on fire and once again delivered a superb, well-balanced set, of both material from the new album like “Angel City”, fan favorites like the fast and furious “Total Strangers” and the superb “Another Manâ€™s Words” from “The Swing House Sessions” EP. At one point in their set, and a first at any Vintage Trouble concert, frontman Ty Taylor took to crowd surfing across the top of the audience, much to the excitement of the TroubleMakers. Truly a spectacle to behold.
They brought the evening to a close with the hard rocking “Strike Your Light On Me” and the mesmerizing “Run Outta You” before the band jumped off the stage and made their way through the London crowd, so much energy in the room it felt as if they were taking a well-deserved victory lap.
After a glorious evening in London, Vintage Trouble headed North to Manchester, a city familiar to the band as they had headlined Grillstock Festival held in Manchester last year. Vintage Trouble played a packed show at Manchester Academy 2.
Having earlier delivered a set which would leave Manchester talking for a long time to come, Tom “Papa” Ray joined the band on stage for “Low Down Dirty Dog”, which made a welcome return to the bandâ€™s set. Having been a mainstay in their show last year it sounded phenomenal. Rayâ€™s harp playing added a totally new dimension to the song.
Heading out of the urban surroundings of Manchester and into the beautiful countryside of West Yorkshire VT headed to another sold out show at the Picturedrome in Holmfirth. Over the years Holmfirth has been more commonly associated with the BBC sitcom “Last of the Summer Wine” as opposed to Rock and Roll, but the venue is just perfect for the band and it made a great change of scenery as well as being the bandâ€™s first visit to the area.
The tour was brought to a close with a sold out show at the O2 ABC in Glasgow, a venue which holds a special place in the hearts of the band. It was the setting for their “80 Shows 100 Days / Live From Glasgow” DVD, which was recorded back in 2011. At that point, the O2 ABC had been their largest show to date.
This night was also guitarist Nalle Coltâ€™s birthday, who was serenaded by the Scottish crowd with an exuberant rendition of “Happy Birthday”. Thereâ€™s just something about Glasgow. The last time the band played the O2 ABC in 2012 it was the best show of the tour and this time was no exception.
Vintage Trouble was joined onstage by Cailean Hall-Gardiner on bagpipes who played a rather fitting interpretation of “Not Alright By Me”, with a local twist, much to the pleasure of the Glasgow crowd. Ty Taylor in turn waved the Scottish flag across the stage.
The evening was brought to a close with a spellbinding performance of “Run Outta You”, always a treat. The passion and intensity of Nalle Coltâ€™s playing during the solo is sublime. Itâ€™s as if he goes into a trance or is channeling one of the greats, no two solos are the same. Every time they play this track it is a unique and almost spiritual experience. The band exits the stage one by one leaving the crowd chanting the chorus back to them, a truly special moment to end a remarkable tour.
Vintage Trouble return to Europe in June for festival season and will release their eagerly anticipated, yet currently untitled, new album this summer.