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ACL Fest review: Vintage Trouble

Deborah Sengupta

Editor’s note: This article was originally published October 5, 2013

Scheduled into an unfortunate time slot on the Austin Ventures stage, a.k.a. the walk-through stage, largely unknown L.A. rockers Vintage Trouble seemingly had the cards stacked against their 5:45 p.m. set. Luckily, no one mentioned this to the band.

Vocalist Ty Taylor hit the stage blazing, channeling James Brown in a fiery a capella intro to “Hard Times are Coming.” Then the band kicked in with full throttle blasts of guitar-driven rock ‘n’ soul sending Taylor, decked out in a slim-tailored grey suit and a dashing ascot, into a frenetic series of highly athletic, supremely coordinated dance moves. Radiating magnetic charisma and packing approximately 3000 buckets of soul, Taylor immediately had the crowd on his side.

Slipping into the fast-paced rocker “Blues Hand Me Down” Taylor put on another impressive dance display, led the crowd in a rapid-fire soul clap and continued to belt like a beast. He went on to host a sing along on “Nancy Lee” and coax the crowd to get dirty with him on “Pelvis Pusher.”

Slowing things down for the gut bucket blues outcry “Not Alright with Me,” he brought Austin rock lifer Patrice Pike to the stage. Belting the chorus alongside Pike, he encouraged the audience to sing along, to “make some change with your voice.” They happily obliged. In fact, throughout the set the synthesis between performer and audience was the strongest I’d seen all weekend long.

Halfway through Taylor hopped the barricade and wandered through the crowd, interacting with audience members, finishing a song from the soundboard, facing back toward the stage. Toward the end of the set he jumped back into the crowd talking everyone down to the ground and bringing them up again.

By the time the band finished in a drawn out climatic number that included a 900 volt blistering guitar solo we were all riding on that wave of ecstacy you get when you know you’ve experienced something truly special. A Prince singing “Purple Rain” at the end of the movie feeling. Yeah, like that.

For a lot of first weekend fest-goers this set was easy to overlook. Second weekend ACL-ers, don’t make the same mistake.