Last week was one of the better weeks of Chicago music in a while. Wilco played their “Shrinking Venue” shows, which ended Sunday at Lincoln Hall. I went to two of those shows, the largest venue and the second smallest (Metro). Incredible nights worth the price of admission plus some. The week continued to be great when Kari and I went to check out a new band at the House Of Blues called Vintage Blue.
I’m not sure exactly how long Vintage Blue has been together. I believe that either parts of the band or the whole band used to go by the name Tanglewood. They have a new album coming out next month called Strike The Mics, which I’ve heard and enjoyed. It’s a large band: 2 guitars, 2 saxaphones, bass, drum, keyboards, and a backup singer. They filled up the stage pretty well at House of Blues, and put on a hell of a show.
Having heard the record already, I wasn’t sure how the live show would go. I also didn’t realize there were so many members. The band’s sound has a definite 90’s feel to it. They also find roots in classic rock anthems and singer/songwriter emotion. It made sense that they were opening for the band Sister Hazel (their 1994 hit “All For You” was one of the biggest songs of the early to mid-90’s). To that point, the crowd totally dug these new kids on the block, and rightfully so.
It’s one thing to be good musicians that are technically proficient. It’s quite another to be that, and entertaining. Every time one of the singers stepped to the mic to say something to the crowd, it was something funny. At one point Ryan Tibbs, guitarist and singer, grabbed a bunch of t-shirts and launched them into the crowd with his cannon arm. The band joked with and about one another, and you could tell that they were really appreciating this opportunity and having fun with it.
There were a lot of impressive moments in the show, but I think the one that stood out the most was Ben Basset’s guitar solo at the beginning of “Hey Hey.” He appears to be the guitarist who uses his ax as a weapon, cold and calculating., Tibbs is more of a improvisational player, going more on feeling than technicality. The band’s bass player Cesar Corral was dripping with sweat after the first few songs. Every time he banged his head forward I could see the people in the front being sprayed by the drops coming off his face and head.
Vintage Blue is the kind of rock band I like to see, because they just wanna have a good time. There’s no pretensions about putting on a perfect show. It’s much more important that everyone have fun and leave smiling. That’s exactly what I did.
And I look forward to doing it again on January 21, when the band will play their release show at Subterranean with Ty Stone.
For more pics from the show, check out our photo album on Facebook.