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Vintage Trouble At Madison Square Garden, Wednesday, November 5th, 2012

When Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were starting out, they opened for Jackson Browne on a West Coast tour and got soundly ignored by Browne's fans. R&B band and rock nyc heroes Vintage Trouble suffered a similar fate Wednesday night opening for the Who. 

The r&b band are used to Arenas, they have opened for the likes of Queen's Brian May and Bon Jovi, a concept manager Doc McGhee (who was involved with Bon Jovi along with an impressive list of other bands) invented to get maximum exposure along with the Los Angeles four piece maximum r&B.

Plugging their very impressive 2012 debut album The Bomb Shelter Session, the LA band tried like hell to fill the Arena and singer Tyler Taylor came damn  close to it, running up and down the floor aisle slapping hands with the audience, dancing in place like a James Brown, funking his body , moving his hips (even calling a song "Pelvis Pusher") , and acting as if he was in a sweaty nightclub and not in the world's most cavernous arena.

An old fashioned four piece, with a dynamite rhythm section in bassist Rick Barrio Dill and drummer Richard Danielson, the duo are like white blues bands of the 1960s, both unobtrusive and on the one, they hold hard to the beat. It was all about shock discipline and movement. A controlled fury. Guitarist Nalle Colt is really Taylor's foil and between them they remind me of a young Dr. Feelgood (the pub rock band of the 1970s) Colt playing Wilko Johnson to Taylor's Lee Brilleaux.

And even at their  most exciting, Nailie's solo on "Blues Hand Me Down" is bone rattling,Vintage Trouble aren't a jam band, they never overplay their hand. And they almost pull off an upset. Half way through the 30 minutes set, Ty pulls off a stunning "Run Outta You" and awakens the crowd, insisting on a singalong and getting on his knees and getting on the floor. This is rock and and as soul surrender. But then the band made a mistake. With the audience in the palm (or at at least at attention) they continued with a fine Otis Reddingish "Nobody Told Me" slow number. Any time your first line is "This is a message and a calling" call in an editor or at least don't slow down a set that has just reached warp speed.

But Vintage Trouble get their mojo back with "Strike Your Light (Right On Me)"  and leave the stage by announcing they will be in the lobby and want to meet as many people as possible. If Doc McGhee's plan for world domination was to make as many new fans as possible as fast as possible, he definitely made some converts Wednesday nigh. Including yours truly.

Grade: B

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