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Typically, I manage an early finish from work, arrive at Manchester’s Academy relatively early, make the climb up the university buildings spiral staircases (note to self – use the more standard back stairs when accompanied by Mel on photographic duties due to her fear of heights) I find no support act scheduled. Instead, although not unpleasantly, a DJ provides initial entertainment playing predominantly classic soul records highlighting the bands obvious influences.

Although I have to admit being slightly disappointed by début album “The Bomb Shelter Sessions” my thoughts that Vintage Trouble suit live performance are confirmed during a conversation with an enthusiastic uber fan. Having followed the band to various venues around the country, she explained the record is purely a snapshot of their depth and talent which only witnessing the band’s shows truly reveals. From the moment the immaculately dressed Nalle Colt, Rick Barrio Dill and Richard Danielson take the stage, opening with an instrumental, it’s plain to see uber fan is on the money and something very special is happening in Manchester tonight. Within minutes however, the real focus of attention appears, vocalist Ty Taylor entering and Vintage Trouble move into top gear, searing through an outstanding version of “Blues Hand Me Down” which has really brought the U.K’s attention to the rock and soul quartet from LA. Taylor is the ultimate soul front man, elements of James Brown, Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett all apparent in an energetic, eye catching performance. Immediately he owns the crowd, especially the ladies, absolutely oozing sex appeal, especially within “Pelvis Pusher,” jacket removed, enhancing the hot, steamy atmosphere he creates which the temperature in the venue further extenuates. Even dripping in sweat, Taylor still retains a complete element of cool especially within his beautifully controlled vocal style. 

As you would expect, the set is predominantly based around the album although stretching to nearly two hours, particularly through the extension of tracks with crowd participation. Is there too much of the call and respond? Possibly, although no one appeared to be complaining tonight within a crowded Academy.

Don’t be fooled though into thinking Vintage Trouble are the Ty Taylor show, Nalle Colt on lead guitar is also a major focus with some outstanding playing.  The encore of “Run Outta You” in particular, his deft extended soloing an absolute highlight. There is a further aspect which differentiates great bands from being just good. While the majority of attention obviously falls on Taylor and Colt, the true star tonight is Vintage Trouble the unit. The four piece are incredibly tight, a tribute as much to bass player Barrio Dill and drummer Danielson as the more flamboyant members.

Brilliant live bands incorporate fantastic rhythm sections and this rhythm section is up there with the best. Soul incorporates stops and starts, rests and pauses requiring each musician to be completely locked in and while Taylor orchestrates, predominantly through hand movements, a tremendous amount of eye contact takes place between Danielson and Colt, ensuring everything is coordinated perfectly. Barrio Dill also proves a revelation. My vantage point in front of the bass man perfectly placed to observe and hear the outstandingly funky lines he played, to the point I’d hazard a guess Rick has the odd Stanley Clarke album in his collection.

Tonight will undoubtedly be one of my gigs of the year, for any fan of live music this band are an absolute must. Thankfully I have a feeling there will be many more opportunities as the U.K and Manchester especially, love Vintage Trouble and so they should.

Review/videos by Andy Barnes
Photos by Mel[more photos here]

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