Vintage Trouble kicks off World Cup Village concerts in Aspen
If You Go ...
Who: Vintage Trouble
Where: World Cup Village, Wagner Park
When: Thursday, March 16, 7 p.m.
How much: Free
More info: www.aspensnowmass.com
Vintage Trouble has a well-earned reputation as one of the best live bands on the road today. Opening a three-night lineup of concerts at World Cup Village in Aspen today, playing to a wild crowd of international ski-racing fans, the Los Angeles-based retro-soul and blues rock outfit wants to leave an impression.
“We’re going to create a bigger dance party than we’ve ever created,” singer Ty Taylor said from home in Hollywood last week.
Taylor brings to the stage a ferocious, high-energy mix of vocals and dance moves that often draws comparisons to James Brown, while the rest of the band plays a hard-charging, Zeppelin-esque style of rock. Over the past seven years, the band has released three albums — most recently 2015’s “1 Hopeful Rd.” — but much of today’s show, Taylor said, will showcase brand-new material, including the band’s recently released single “Knock Me Out.”
In recent years, Vintage Trouble has toured with and opened for the likes of The Who, The Rolling Stones and AC/DC and appear to be on their way to joining them in the pantheon of rock legends. A tireless showman and a student of music history, Taylor has gotten some key advice from the rock gods about performing.
Mick Jagger told him to embrace some awkward movement onstage and to strut like nobody’s watching. Lenny Kravitz told him “to let your body demonstrate every beat and curve of the music.” And Roger Daltrey gave him some insight on restraint.
“Watch what happens when you stand still,” Taylor recalled The Who front man telling him. “I learned a lot from him about being still and the power that brings, especially when you’re someone that people associate with a high-energy thing. When you stand still it makes them lean in and really listen.”
Taylor’s moves and crowd interactions, which have helped the band become a must-see act on the festival circuit and beyond, are never choreographed.
“It’s all improvisational,” he said. “I pride myself so much of my performance and our performance being dictated by the energy of the crowd.”
The four-piece also writes very loose set lists so that they can follow the mood of their audience.
Sonically, Vintage Trouble has worked hard over the years to find a sweet spot between a contemporary sound and the throwback melodies and chord structures of ’50s and ’60s rock and rhythm and blues.
“We were all so inspired by music that outlasted trends and things like that,” Taylor said. “What that was for us was early rock ’n’ roll, early rhythm and blues. We wanted that to be the heart of what we were doing.”
They’ve sought to capture the timeless elements of early Led Zeppelin, Tina Turner, Little Richard and Chuck Berry. Combining those sounds with their 21st-century tastes and Taylor’s background in gospel music, the band is finding something new.
“The problem was we didn’t want to be a retro band,” he said. “We were thinking to ourselves — as we do everyday still — how do you make it not feel like some wedding band that’s just playing old ’50s and ’60s tunes?”
Like many bands that blow up based on their live show and not on big hits, Vintage Trouble has struggled to translate the raw energy of its concerts onto its records. That began to change with “1 Hopeful Rd.” and the in-progress album.
“That’s what we’ve been doing lately, figuring out how to harness that energy and not make it sound like it’s overwhelming the record player,” Taylor explained. “‘1 Hopeful Rd.’ started it. But I think what we’re heading into now is going to blow that s— out of the water.”
They’ve already had No. 1 songs overseas — in England and in Japan — while unabashedly aiming for a breakthrough in the U.S. and hoping to follow throwback acts like Amy Winehouse, Gnarls Barkley or Bruno Mars into the mainstream.
A hard-touring band, Vintage Trouble has made regular stops in Colorado — including a main stage set at the 2012 Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival — and developed a genuine love for Aspen and the mountain towns of the high country.
“Colorado defines America to me,” Taylor said.
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