7th November 2015
Mrs Magpie loves gigs at the Sage; especially if they are on a Saturday as she gets the opportunity to get ‘dressed up’ and it usually includes going somewhere nice for tea beforehand; two things we don’t normally do for The Cluny.
Tonight was such a case; and she looked particularly lovely as we took our seats for support band Slydigs.
Looking every inch well established Indie Rockstars, the quartet in their tight black jeans, shiny shirts and expensive haircuts looked a bit surprised as the Vintage Trouble members made an appearance to introduce them. After an unrehearsed couple of minutes Slydigs launched into a faultless three minutes of Indie/Soft Rock called High Off Your Love.
There was absolutely nothing to dislike about the band; especially Truth Will Be Found; which was introduced as a ‘Blues song’ but was really a passionate Rock ballad; and a good one at that.
Their 40 minutes flew by and as The Love That Keeps Giving faded away, the response from the partisan audience was loud and long.
In their own way Slydigs were nearly the perfect accompaniment for Vintage Trouble; warming the
fans up just enough to get their pulses pounding before the main course in 20 minutes.
After selling out the 250 capacity Cluny Newcastle in 2011, then twice selling out the 350 capacity Sage Hall 2, they have now have now consecutively sold out Hall 1 which holds 1700, twice in two years with tickets changing hands on the internet for twice face value according to the rumour mill.
It was just like the olden days as the house lights dimmed and an ear splitting roar greeted the magnificently attired band who made their way out of the shadows; especially singer Ty Taylor in copper coloured tonic suit and hi-shine winkle-pickers.
I was taken a bit by surprise myself as the concert started with a ballad, Lo and Behold, rather than their normal superfast R&B; as I scrambled around the ‘mosh pit’ taking photos in between excitable dancers of all ages.
After the obligatory three songs, battered and sweaty I was glad to take my seat as Ty announced, “This isn’t no ordinary concert, this is a party – a stand up party!” Ho hum; at my age I do like a comfy seat; but the majority won over and the whole concert hall took to their feet and shimmied and shook along to the rip-roaring Nancy Lee; with it’s well choreographed dance steps from Ty, Nalle Colt and Rick Bario Dill; culminating with the trio dropping to their knees without missing a note and Taylor tapping his heart as he pointed to Heaven where Nancy Lee now resides.
This was followed by the first song from the new album 1 Hopeful Road – Angel City. A lot ‘heavier’ than what had gone previously; it also gave the firecracker of a singer the opportunity to finally unbutton his jacket and catch his breath, as he sat on the lip of the stage singing directly to a woman in the ‘mosh pit’ (or possibly more than one).
The next song got off to a bad start as Nalle Colt blew his guitar amp; which necessitated emergency work from the guitar tech and another guy; but ever the trouper Taylor got drummer Richard Danielson and bass player Dill to fill out a beat as he improvised a song, now known as We Need Power/We Need Energy,’ until the offending Amp was repaired after 10 minutes. You won’t get that at a One Direction gig!!
Once the guitarist was sorted, we were regaled with another song from the new album. Some Soul Music is for dancing to, and others like the beautiful Angel City; about their home town LA is for listening to; and it speaks volumes for the power Vintage Trouble have over their fans that you could have heard a pin drop over the next 6 slow and funky minutes.
As usual the diminutive singer conjured up the spirit of Wilson Pickett while Colt delivered some blistering short and sharp guitar solos; much to the crowd’s unmistakable delight.
Not only is Taylor a great singer channelling every great Soul singer from Otis through Marvin and even Edwin Starr; but he is a consummate showman too; owing more to Sammy Davis Jr than the histrionics of James Brown that most other reviewers will mention. He really is a live wire; running and dancing around the stage; occasionally dropping to his knees then using the mic stand to lever himself up and my own personal favourite; again using the stand to balance him as he does a wrestling drop kick! You have to be there I suppose; but he’s also a team player, never missing his cue and hitting every note like Andy Murray in a Wimbledon final.
At times I felt we could have done without every song having a 3 or 4 minute call and response; as we could easily have included two more songs if they and the Mexican Wave had been excluded; but for many here that was the show itself; part Rock and Roll; part Pantomime.
I’m not being a grump here; as I was thrilled to see him walk through the crowd via the tops of the seats during Run Baby Run, while singing his heart out, and then disappearing through a door and arriving in the the centre of the Upper balcony.
When he did that tonight; he stood next to and regaled Mrs. Magpies work colleague, Ellen who had bought a last minute ticket earlier in the day!
As the concert drew to an all too short conclusion (damn those call and responses!), I was struck by the thought ‘Let there be drums! And there were drums, Let there be Rock! And there was Rock as we witnessed the first ever AC/DC/VT collaboration (not really) as drummer Danielson tried to punch holes in his kit as the guitarists cranked it up to 11 for an elongated and Rocktastic Shine Your Light; from the new album.
Eventually leaving the stage for the obligatory 30 seconds; VT returned for Nobody Told Me; featuring a Gospellish ‘Amen’ chorus that he inserted ‘Newcastle’ into; but we were actually the other side of the River Tyne in – GATESHEAD! Oops.
Never mind; the song was a doozy with the back of Taylor’s suit jacket featuring a crucifix shaped sweat patch as he spun like an electrocuted Dervish time after time and finished the song; nary out of breath.
With only one hour and fifteen minutes on the clock the show closed with a raucous and rocking version of Blues Hand Me Down; which featured 1700 fans doing Northern Soul claps and even old stagers like me had to succumb and shake a tail-feather; alongside a couple of hundred of all ages from grand-kids through hipsters to Granddads and Grandma’s, who had filled the aisles from song one and never stopped.
The song ended with the band jumping off stage and performing a Pied Piper routine with the crowd hypnotically following them downstairs to the merch desk!
This is a gig I’d been excitedly looking forward to for months and enjoyed every single minute on the night; yet the following day struggled to remember a single song apart from Nancy Lee and Hand Me Down Blues.
With hindsight I genuinely think too much of the evening was made up of extended call and responses and Vegas/Pantomime stunts; when it’s the songs that Vintage Trouble will be remembered for and quite rightly so.
photo-set courtesy Harrisonaphotos http://www.harrisonaphotos.co.uk/Music/Vintage-Trouble/