Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Vintage Trouble / Kill It Kid / The Reverend Soul Shakedown DJ @ Academy 22nd November

OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!! Nope, I’ve not trapped my ‘bits’ in the door again, that my friends, is the sound of Mr Ty Taylor, lead singer of tonight’s headliners, Vintage Trouble, and quite possibly the new hardest working man in showbusiness. More on him (and them) in a momento, first up, after some fine soul tunes from DJ The Reverend Soul Shakedown, Kill It Kid. Like a slightly less grizzled Black Keys, they’ve got da blues brothers and sisters. Formed in the deep south, that’ll be Bath then, KIK have been a howlin’ and a hollerin’ for a few years now and, it has to be said, they make an almighty sound. Notable for having darn impressive male and female vocalists (I mean one of each, they ain’t hermaphrodites or anything...although how cool would that be eh...blues hermaphrodites...they could sing about how they dun themselves wrong), Chris and Stephanie, they’ve also got a decent stash of self penned blues belters. Pick of the bunch were You’re In My Blood, a testifyingly sultry, make that lust, song and their last number, Let My Feet Fall Heavy, featuring some rather fine thrashy blues rock guitar solos.

Judging by the pretty decent turnout tonight Vintage Trouble are clearly enjoying a bit of a boost from their Later...appearance earlier this year, I guess touring with Bon Jovi and playing with Brian May didn’t do them any harm either. Apparently they played 80 shows over 100 days in front of a grand total of 400,000 people. Blimey. That would go some way to explaining the sharpness of the show though. Despite looking about 150 at the moment I’m far too young to have seen the legendary Stax tour and soul revues of the ‘60’s. No, honestly, I am. You can get a vague idea of the kind of raw energy from grainy clips on You Tube though. Awesome. There’s something primal about the whole thing that’s difficult to find these days. I’m guessing the ‘newness’ of the music and the hunger (metaphorical and literal) probably had a lot to do with it. Well, tonight Vintage Trouble somehow managed to conjure up that same kind of feel. Boy this band works a crowd. Within seconds they’d got hands in the air, booties shakin’ and people singing along. Kicking off with Hard Times Coming (cue one slightly mournful Brummie voice shouting “They’re already here mate”) they barely paused for breath for nearly two hours with Ty spinning, leaping and jigging about like a man possessed...or, for the Sci Fi geeks out there, like Cat from Red Dwarf. It’s a masterclass in old school soul showmanship, channelling the spirits of Otis Redding, James Brown and Mr Midnight Hour himself, Wilson Pickett.

I’m guessing most of the guys in the band are late 30’s (Ty’s 42) so they’ve clearly put in the hours over the years, hence the tip top performance. I’m also guessing that this relatively late career break means everything to them too. It shows. They played as though their lives depended on it. Highlights? Hell, the whole thing. But that guitar solo by Nalle Colt during a 10 minute plus version of Run Outta You was one of the finest bits of blues guitar work I’ve seen, intricate and soulful one second, blistering and rawkus the next.

Ty’s vocals on some of the slower numbers, stuff like Gracefully, were just sublime too...somewhere the ghost of Otis is smiling down on this dude and nodding approvingly. A frantic run through Blues Can’t Hold Me Down capped off the encore before the Academy disgorged several hundred sweaty Brummies out onto the streets. I reckon even Mr Mournful had a smile on his face by the end of this one. A truly Vintage night out all round.

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