Vintage Trouble Newcastle 2013 By John Burrows @ishootgigs@ Metro Radio Arena/Northumbria University, June 20 2013

If Newcastle was braced for double Trouble then even the most optimistic of rock aficionados could hardly have predicted the two-in-one triumph that shaped a memorable night of rock n soul. 

Delivering a brace of sets in one night would be beyond most modern bands – the majority wouldn’t even bother. But Vintage Trouble take risks. They take what’s theirs. And they take no prisoners.

Given the chance to kick things off in front of The Who’s notoriously tough fans, the irrepressible Ty Taylor took no time at all to make Trouble inside the Metro Radio Arena. No sooner had the Los Angeles quartet settled into their rhythm than their super-confident singer was in amongst the crowd – singing, dancing and ripping up the rock rule book.

Blessed by a massive arena production – The Who had ceded their entire lighting and sound rig to last night’s support – Taylor took his chance and took control. Successfully presenting Vintage Trouble as a club band with arena aspirations, the former reality television finalist had a potentially hostile crowd wrapped around his little finger.

A band guided by the man responsible for the 80s chart domination of Bon Jovi and Motley Crue should know every trick in the live music book. And it’s clear Vintage Trouble have listened carefully to uber-manager Doc McGhee as they hone their stagecraft and grow their audience.

This was a set that paid due homage to The Who’s 60s roots, respected their bombastic approach to guitar-driven rock and warmed up a crowd requiring nothing more than passion, authenticity and skill. Vintage Trouble ticked all of those boxes and more as they returned to Tyneside in a blaze of glory.

The fire kept on burning across town at Northumbria University’s Students’ Union. A slight delay reflected the fact that a double date in the Toon was no easy task. But when VT did appear there was never any suggestion that this would be anything other than a sensational set, worth waiting for.

An opening salvo of Lay Down Dirty Dog and Pelvis Pusher – the latter available on seven-inch vinyl at a merch stand packed with retro goodness – threw the majority of those present. But familiar favorites You Better Believe It and Nancy Lee got the party started and from then on it was all hands to the rock n soul pump.

Taylor might have owned the Arena stage but on the other side of town he looked like a man surrounded by his own. Confidence coursing through his pumped-up veins, the pint-sized frontman responded to the love of a wrapt crowd by squeezing every last ounce out of a sensational vocal tour de force.

Blues Hand Me Down retained the infectious groove that first thrilled Newcastle fans two summers ago and encore favourite Nobody Told Me captured the mood to perfection.

This was the sound of a band going places. And going places fast.

Simon Rushworth

Picture  By John Burrows @ishootgigs