Vintage Trouble – Amsterdam Bar & Hall – St. Paul MN – December 4th 2019

Vintage Trouble Making Retro Relevant

The percentage of people who walk into a Vintage Trouble concert as first timers and reemerge as converted “TroubleMakers” (their clever fan club name) has to be off the charts. I’m sure that was the case again December 4th in St. Paul at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall. This phenomenon is not simply a lucky byproduct of a good performance as the crowd experience is a top priority for this band and very intentional. Dynamic front-man Ty Taylor has said an audience is the kindling for what they’re expecting our band to ignite. If an audience starts out quiet, they consider it a challenge to up their game until the desired reaction is achieved. Fortunately, this was not an issue with our Twin Cities fans as they did not hesitate to let it be known that they came to party.

These retro groove aficionados bring their vintage identity even further to life through clothing (throwback classy), instruments (classic sunburst Gibson Les Paul, 24” bass drum reminds me of an old fashioned hat box with its retro graphic logo) and performance (James Brown inspired footwork). Above all, having the sound mixed to their standard is probably the number one priority and the Amsterdam was all over it and provided an environment that was well suited for this show.

Ty Taylor commanded everyone’s attention with a head turning vocal run that kicked off their upbeat opener “Total Strangers”. Aside from his soulful pipes, which are a driving force in this band, his stage presence sets this band apart. Be it dancing, venturing out into the audience, fearlessly crowd surfing back to the stage, or using his extra-long microphone cord as a jump rope, this first-rate showman packs his A-game for every performance.

The other element that makes this band exceptional is their unique blend of music styles, which requires a lot from each of these musicians. The bass, for example, plays a prominent role in R&B, Funk and Soul, which is a primary influence in most of their material. Rick Barrio Dill delivered on that and more with some particularly tasteful choices during “Doing What You’re Doing”. Rounding out the foundation, Richard Danielson is a perfect fit on drums. His kit really took a pounding during “Pelvis Pusher”, which the audience helped out on by echoing back “1,2,3 push your pelvis with me”. Nally Cole on guitar is their special sauce. The tone and texture he brings to these compositions is an immediate identifier to their sound. It was fun to see him get a chance to steal the spotlight and cut loose on the instrumental “Get It”. One of the evenings best moments happened as the band shifted gears and joined together at the front of the stage for an acoustic start to “Run Like the River”.  From there, it ramped up to some wicked slide work that drove the crowd into a frenzy. They brought the whole thing 360° and finished strong with “Knock Me Out” and their best known hit “Blues Hand Me Down” as the encore.

Opener Hollis Brown provided a solid and entertaining opening set and seemed to genuinely enjoy their first visit to St. Paul. Additionally, special recognition should go to Sue McClean and Associates for their continued efforts to bring these kinds of shows to the Twin Cities. This one was great and falls right in their wheelhouse.

Set List:
Total Strangers
Doing What You’re Doing
My Whole World Stopped Without You
Nancy Lee
Pelvis Pusher
Can’t Let Go
Can’t Stop Rolling
Run Like the River
These Arms of Mine
Crystal Clarity
Get It (instrumental)
Knock Me Out
Blues Hand Me Down

Review and photos by Patrick Dunn