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Class Of 2015: Vintage Trouble

Step into the world of the soul-powered LA band taking rock’n’roll right back to its roots.

It takes maybe 10 minutes for Vintage Trouble to win over the unwinnable. The Stade De France in the northern suburbs of Paris is packed to le gills with 70,000 people here to see AC/DC, every single one of whom is sporting either a T-shirt bearing the name of tonight’s headliners, a pair of flashing red Angus Young-style devil horns, or – in most cases – both.

Vintage Trouble aren’t stupid. They know there are partisan audiences and then there are AC/DC audiences. Lesser bands have been chewed up and spat out simply for the crime of not being loud enough, not being bolshy enough or just not being AC/DC themselves. The fact that the LA group eschew three chord boogie in favour of soul-infused rock’n’roll and cut-off denim for elegantly tailored red suits that wouldn’t have looked out of place on a 60s soul man (singer Ty Taylor) and something approximating 19th century riverboat gambler chic (guitarist Nalle Colt, bassist Rick Barrio Dill and drummer Richard Danielson) doesn’t help their odds.

“The main thing when you’re a support act,” Taylor had said a few hours earlier, “is that you have 40 minutes to play but five minutes to get the audience’s attention. These are people who would rather go out and buy a beer and a T-shirt. You’ve gotta go out and you’ve gotta hit it as hard as you can.”

On the vast AC/DC stage, Vintage Trouble get busy walking the walk. As they burn through songs from 2011’s debut album, The Bomb Shelter Sessions, and the forthcoming follow-up, 1 Hopeful Rd., the crowd’s mood rapidly shifts from Gallic indifference through growing curiousity to out-and-out admiration.

Part of it is down to Taylor himself. A one-man charisma hurricane, he struts, dances, hollers and croons his way through the set. But there’s another, more fundamental reason. Look past the band’s retro stylings, and you’ll see they’re coming at things from the same place as Angus Young and co: old R&B, original rock’n’roll, true soul music. The building blocks of music. Vintage Trouble know it.

More importantly for them, 70,000 AC/DC fans know it. By the time Taylor walks to the end of the headliners’ ego ramp and launches himself into the expectant arms of the audience, they’ve definitely won. If we’re dishing out points for cool, that’s a hundred for Vintage Trouble right there.


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