Vintage Trouble w/ Desi Valentine
Neumos, Seattle, WA

Choose any Saturday night to pop by Neumos and you’ll find them hosting notable metal, alternative, folk, electronic, and pop artists. But this time, the Seattle stage overflowed with dynamic soul from UK sensation Desi Valentine and the hugely dynamic rock/soul super group Vintage Trouble.

At first glance, you notice opener Desi Valentine’s slick tailored suit and that beaming smile, and then he sings. He had a distinct voice that flirted with a falsetto at every turn, a complete throwback with his Jackie Wilson moves and 21st century style.

Riding on the high of his song “Fate Don’t Know You Like I Do” being featured on the TV series “Suits,” Valentine brought more to the table than just the made-for-TV tune. He delivered the funk with “Feast Your Eyes On Me” and slowed it down with “Shades of Love,” a biting ballad about falling hard. Valentine proved he had the voice, but he also showed a bit of gumption by ending with the Nina Simone classic “Feeling Good.” Ballsy yes, but he did it justice and it was a proper way to warm the room for the ferocity of Vintage Trouble.

You may not know who Vintage Trouble is, but you would definitely know the bands they have opened for: bands like AC/DC, The Who, and The Rolling Stones. They have played across the globe in front of tens, and sometimes hundreds, of thousands of people. With their new album 1 Hopeful Rd, they have moved from opening act to headliner with their urgent, guitar driven rhythm and blues. Instead of zero, their set started right at 60.

If you’re going to have a conversation about the most dynamic, charismatic lead singers in mainstream music, you must include Vintage Trouble’s frontman, Ty Taylor. Outfitted in a green, checkered suit and old-fashioned ribbon bow-tie, he was relentless in his mission to amp up the crowd to their full potential.

“Blues Hand Me Down,” a gritty, unabashed tune that featured the power of the band (Nalle Colt on guitar, Rick Barrio Dill on bass, and the pig-tailed wonder Richard Danielson on drums) got the “Troublemakers” on their feet in a frenzied dance. The band was formidable on their own, each bringing their own energy and incredible talent to back up the incredible frontman.  Taylor would be a hard man to keep up with, but his band made it look easy with tremendous smiles on their faces. They were almost as animated as he was.

Speaking of frenzied dancing, Taylor had an amazing amount of moves in his repertoire. He mixed James Brown and Michael Jackson with eye-popping mic-stand acrobatics, including a gravity defying side dropkick using the mic stand as his only support. If you see a picture of it, all you would be able to say is “How?” All this while belting out Sam Cooke vocals in a suit that probably doesn’t breathe well.

If I’m painting a picture of a band who only has one gear, don’t be fooled. That is definitely not the case. Taylor began to speak about apologizing, one of the best things about humanity in his mind. “Apologizing to someone makes you the stronger person…look into that person’s eyes to find it.” This was the preface to heart-wrenching ballad, “Apologies.” However, there wasn’t much time to rest. They turned the party back up with the funk-laden “Don’t Stop Forever,” featuring the stylings of newly recruited keyboardist Brian London, and “Crystal Clear,” a song with an island feel about turning off the madness to concentrate on what you love, which was recorded in the Cayman Islands.

The standout of the night was new single “Knock Me Out.” With Muhammad Ali playing on their monitors, it had this in-your-face feel of “this is who we are, come on and challenge us.” Even as one of the last songs of the night, the whole band had energy like it was the first. Nalle Colt shredded while Taylor dove off the stage. “I dare you to knock me out,” and if the audience challenged Vintage Trouble to do so, it was a TKO, no doubt about it.

Review and photos by Phillip Johnson

Vintage Trouble

Desi Valentine