Engine Rooms, Southampton

Vintage trouble

I always enjoy the prospect of visiting a new venue and tonight it was the turn of the Engine Rooms in Southampton. Nestled in the shadow of Ikea on an industrial estate, the unimposing pre-fab building sandwiched between a car sales room and car rental company is the most unlikely setting for a venue imaginable, but on entering, the reassuring smell from the toilets and a loud PA put my mind at rest, I was in the right place. They haven’t spent much on the décor, a slap of paint, a few posters, it still feels a bit like stepping into a darkened B & Q without shelving, however the view of the stage is good from most vantage points, the sound’s excellent when considering the boomy acoustics associated with a factory unit, the bar sells Old Speckled Hen at a reasonable price and the toilets are OK apart from the washing facilities being unisex. Initially, I thought I’d thought made an embarrassing faux pas until a kindly lady put me right and pointed to a separate entrance to the Gents in the far corner, call me old fashioned but I’m not used to this continental way of carrying on, besides I thought we left the EU.

Anyway on with the show, support tonight came from Slydigs, a four piece from Warrington who trade in honest, riff driven rock n’ roll delivered with swagger, bravado and funny in-between song banter that left the ladies in no doubt about their availability after the show. They won the crowd over with their high energy Faces, Strokes, Oasis type repertoire of originals, (apart from a Hendrix cover with a guest guitarist) and left the stage to cries of “more” ringing in their ears, the boys done good.

Vintage trouble

Now to the main event, if you like me never got round to seeing James Brown live then don’t fret, in Ty Taylor California’s Vintage Trouble have a front man that is the living embodiment of the “Godfather of Soul.” He’s not a copy or a tribute you understand, just a non-stop ball of energy who delivers a similar brand of showmanship, dance moves and vocal intensity. Vintage Trouble have been around for seven years, winning over hordes of fans while supporting the Rolling Stones, The Who, Bon Jovi and AC/DC on the large stages of the world and headlining small clubs, where they have honed their special brand of retro soul / funk / R&B and rock n’ roll, these dudes are no slouches, they really know how to kick some serious ass. As the lights dim, guitarist Nalle Colt strikes up the slide intro to Run Like the River, as Rick Barrio Dill straps on his bass and drummer Richard Danielson settles behind the kit in readiness for the grand entrance of Ty, who leaps on to the stage like a whirling dervish. Within minutes he’s balancing precariously on the crush barrier conducting the crowd in the singalong chorus while exclaiming “this ain’t going to be just a gig, this is going to be a party!” you better believe it. After the intense start, the band cool it with Nobody Told Me, a song that sounds like it could be an old soul classic from Otis Redding, but is in fact an original, Ty owns it. The mid-pace Can’t Stop Rolling follows, before Strike Your Light ramps up the excitement once again, prompting the singer to leap into the audience while encouraging everybody to get down on the floor, before jumping up with their hands in the air. The die is cast with the set list, a slow song for a breather, Another Man’s Words, Turn the Sky to Blue and Not Alright By Me followed by a burst of unbridled energy, Blues Hand Me Down, Pelvis Pusher and a medley of songs from their two albums which involves Ty crowd surfing to the sound desk and back. All the while the band never misses a beat, churning out a relentless back beat while the antics of their singer grabs the audience’s attention, but don’t dismiss them, they are consummate musicians with some serious chops. All too soon they play an encore, 24/7/365 Satisfaction Man, after asking for a request and leave the stage through the crowd heading towards the merch stall. What a show, the crowd leaves feeling limp, hot, ecstatic and sweaty into the drizzle and desolation of a Southampton business park, if you get the chance to go see them, take it, you won’t be disappointed.

Run Like the River
Nobody Told Me
Can’t Stop Rolling
Strike Your Light
Another Man’s Words
Medley: Soul Serenity / Angel City, California / Jezzebella / Gracefully / Total Strangers
Doin’ What You’re Doin’
Blues Hand Me Down
Turn the Sky Blue
Nancy Lee
Not Alright By Me
Pelvis Pusher

24/7/365 Satisfaction Man


Words by John Cherry.

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