I'm a big fan of social networking, especially Twitter. I love the challenge that comes with creating witty comments within the confines of 140 characters. I dig connecting with new people and flirting with a handle - I even sort of dated someone for five months thanks to Twitter (that’s a different story.) But one of my favorite things about Twitter: it’s an avenue for finding and discovering new music.
Like all twitter users, I get psyched when I gain a new follower, and as a music lover I get super psyched when it’s a band. So after looking into my latest band follower, @VintageBlueChi, I felt pretty good.
After a few tweets, RT’s and DM’s, (Re-tweets and Direct Messages, for those who are unfamiliar with the Twitter game) I was invited to check out their performance at Double Door in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood. The relatively small venue is an important part of Chicago's rock history, famous for booking "up-and-coming bands" in addition to quite a few "big-name" talents who prefer the more intimate setting. They split the bill with three other Chicago based groups: The Chris Buehrle Band, Farraday, and the headliner, Workout Music. Having high hopes, but mediocre expectations, I was totally blown away; Vintage Blue is a big band, with an even bigger on-stage presence!
The self-described "contemporary, classic rock" band officially formed as Vintage Blue in August of 2011. Prior to that, three of the now five members were part of the cover band, Tanglewood. But once the guys started writing some of their own music, they realized they had a true knack for it and decided to give it a go.
The five piece band consists of Ben and Ryan, each on vocals and guitar, Cesar on bass, Will on drums, and Max on saxophone and keyboard. When playing big shows, they bring out Brent for backup sax and Caitlin as backup vocals, I imagine they’ll roll as a seven-piece group a lot as their summer concert schedule is already stacked pretty deep.
At the Double Door performance, my roommate and I had the opportunity to catch Vintage Blue jam as a seven-piece band. They opened with "California Road," a folk rock track with catchy lyrics that melodiously correspond with the country-guitar riffs, while throwing in enough saxophone to add a bluesy undertone. Midway through the performance, the band played "Amazing Grace," a single they recently recorded for a short independent film, which conveniently shares the same title. The set included several tracks that did a great job of showcasing the bands cohesiveness without undermining the talent each member brought to the stage.
Over the course of the past two years, Vintage Blue has achieved success most Indie bands only dream of having. They have opened for Fitz & The Tantrums, Sister Hazel, Vertical Horizon, and even performed at a VIP event for Dave Mathews. The group happily associates with several of those quintessential 90’s rock bands, claiming the style of that genre played a key role in inspiring their sound, as it’s what most of them listened to as they learned to play music.
That familiar sound, accompanied with the heavy use of the horn and catchy lyrics are a few of the reasons Vintage Blue has such a large appeal. They’re a band basically anyone can enjoy, and the fun they have performing is completely contagious. Even if it’s not your go-to sound, it’s almost a guarantee you’ll have a great time.
The group kept busy last summer playing several Chicagoland festivals. The age-old trick of "complaining little and helping a lot," along with a growing audience and an energetic performance have resulted in return invites to every festival previously played. In addition to an impressive festival lineup for summer of 2013, Vintage Blue has booked several venues spanning cities and states.
In addition to touring and performing, they're also busy creating a new seven track LP album, which fans are eagerly anticipating end of this year. The band’s second album will have a more Indie rock and concrete sound, with several lyrically and sonically intense tracks.
Due to their growing popularity, they recently brought on Novo Management & Publicity to help wrangle in the chaos and crazy schedule that every band dreams of having. That being said, you just might have the opportunity to catch them live at a venue or festival near you. Check out vintagebluemusic.com to listen to their tracks and see a list of their up-coming performances. And if you get a chance to see them, make sure you go up and say hi, they’re super friendly and down-to-earth.
Ashley Lauren Dickinson