It’s always really cool when a rock band takes over one of the main venues in your town. Tonight is Vintage Trouble at The Concorde 2 in Brighton and I arrive a few hours early due to a postponed interview which will take place later next week. Naturally I decided to sit on the adjoining beach to enjoy some quiet before the storm and who do I see there? It’s none other than singer Ty Taylor standing on the shoreline with his trumpet playing away! That was quite a double take!
I play it cool and sit there because he probably doesn’t want some scrawny kid disturbing him in this moment. This is just a snapshot of the outstanding charisma and personality of such an exuberant front man. In the queue I meet some of the more devoted fans, there are two couples who shared tea with Ty earlier which Ty enthuses about mid show. They have been to 7 of the 8 UK dates on this tour and claim to have seen 60+ shows which perfectly captures the power of this band.
Slydigs are the support act tonight and for the whole tour. Introduced by Ty to get the people at the bar to the front (which turns out to be good advice) they begin a strong performance. It is at the third song that I feel they really get into the groove of their performance with heavy hitter “The Bitter End”; a monster riff which is played with bass as well gives it a massive sound. A radio friendly chorus surrenders nothing and elicits such swagger and a modest form of cockiness which is most welcome tonight. Singer Dean Fairhurst’s voice is perfect for the band, crackling with personality but also crackling in nature, it’s a vintage sound with something new I can’t quite put my finger on, perhaps it’s just youthful ambition and grit.
Towards the end of the set, Vintage Trouble guitarist Nalle is brought on for the Jimi Hendrix classic “Hey Joe” with both Dean and Nalle in a seeming competition to show off their finest moves. This is a support band with some oomph behind them that I haven’t seen in a while, they really are developing their own skin. I imagine they will be doing these sorts of shows of their own soon!
Slowly but surely Vintage Trouble’s stage set is revealed which looks picturesque with copious amounts of white and gold. As the lights dim, the music stops and a huge cheer goes up, the crunchy slide riff of “Run Like The River” is slowly and sneakily introduced with members gradually getting to the stage. The stage set is complemented by their look, that of a wedding band taking over the ceremony. “Run Like The River” is for me their staple song, the first one I heard and the first one I would direct anyone who doesn’t know the band to, it gets the crowd moving instantly.
The set includes a stripped back version of “Jezzebella” as part of a multi song medley, this is where we are asked “Do you want to make this a dance party?”. I would usually be greatly opposed to such a thing but the microcosm of “Troublemakers” is overwhelming and sure enough it becomes “a dance party”. Songs are dedicated to those hurt by love, “There a lot of love songs in the world, happy ones and sad ones'” they apologise that this is a sad one and slip into “Another Man’s word’s”. Songs are dedicated to the results of the recent EU referendum, Ty preaches to come together “in the name of togetherness and love”, a much needed message. There are also even songs dedicated to his mother “Nancy Lee” which again would usually be uncool but when he explains it’s the kind of love song his “devilishly handsome” father would’ve written for his mother and begins the groove we move past it.
We get to the point at the end of the medley where drummer Richard Danielson looks like he knows what’s about to go down. He triumphantly galumphs into “Blues Hand Me Down” which seems to be the fan favourite. Ty, for a second of three times enters the audience and takes a gander, this time to back at the bar where he climbs up and we all know the time has come for the compulsory crowd surf that “Troublemakers” all across the world get treated to. After such a rush of energy we are settled down to be preached to a second time on the EU referendum. Ty talks about a group of people on the beach earlier in blue and red shirts saying “I’m in” or “I’m out” and how they march together displaying co-operation. “Love, love, love” he says, a simple message.
The set closer tonight is “Pelvis Pusher”. At this point I am reluctantly making my way to the back in order to catch the last train home. Grrr public transport. But even doing this I’m looking at hundreds of people singing, clapping, dancing and just generally having a whale of a time. Watching the performance from the back with all of this action going on is nothing short of phenomenal. Never before have I seen someone sweat so much in the flesh, Ty’s suit is literally sopping, perhaps channeling Angus Young after touring with them last year.
Walking down the road and listening to the crowd chosen encore I initially am gutted that I missed it but then I realise how stupid I’m being and think how lucky I was to have seen such a band. Absolutely terrific. Ty and the band really are a “Vortex of energy” as described last year by Classic Rock. Reflecting on the walk back I see Nalle crooning devilishly over his guitar and Ty who could be among a few of the most flamboyant singers since Freddie Mercury… now that’s saying something!