I first discovered Vintage Trouble in 2014 while reading an interview with Prince where he was explaining his astonishment that the band had yet to strike a major hit. So, when I had the opportunity to see them in Manchester, promoting their new album, 1, Hopeful Road, I jumped at the chance.
The opening act was a superb trio, Laurence Jones, which reflected Vintage Trouble’s funky blues style very well. They got the crowd truly warmed up who, at the start of the gig, had been dotted around the floor chatting. So by the time Vintage Trouble took to the stage the crowd were geared up for what would turn out to be an amazing, energy fuelled performance.
Right from the opening chords, the front man, Ty Tyler, had the crowd doing his bidding; jumping, waving arms and singing, there was no need for lengthy introductions or getting in the mood, they were more than willing to work up a sweat!
Impeccably dressed, the whole band performed a tight set. Ty repeatedly gave his stage hand the runaround by leaping onto amps, throwing around his mic, and jumping across onto the narrow barrier that divided the crowd from the stage. The crowd raised the roof at his antics and loved the interaction that they felt with him and the band. Between songs Ty told a few stories and asked the crowd some intimate questions, which everyone seemed happy to shout their answers to. Just reinforcing that feeling of total abandonment and freedom brought by the passionate music and showmanship.
Ty spoke to the crowd about the recent terror attacks in Manchester and spoke of strength and love in numbers, called on all those there to acknowledge common ground in the name of love and music. With shouts of “One Love” from the crowd, the song ‘Battle’s End’ was dedicated to those affected by the attack. An upbeat melody about social injustice and feeling powerless that reached out to everyone in the theatre. Directly following this Ty went on to ask people to add to the donations for One Love Manchester and walked through the crowd with a bucket while singing ‘Not Alright by Me’ – a truly heartfelt ballad, from their debut album, The Bomb Shelter Sessions. Ty’s voice rose up over the crowd with lines like, “They tear apart the hopeful heart” and “open your eyes and feel again”. There were many tears falling and hands held throughout, ending with the lights from mobiles being held aloft and swaying to the rhythm.
The pace was lifted again after that with the crowd being pulled from a near sorrowful place to an ecstatic dynamic stage performance that continued until the very last song.
Despite the impromptu leaps and stage dives taken by Ty throughout the set, the band remained on point. It was an outstanding, explosive and heartfelt performance from start to finish.
All photos – Mary Davies.