The Record Company At Amoeba, Thursday July 12th 2018
The Record Company have gone a long way since I saw them for the first time about 6 years ago. They were playing a street fair at the time in front of a modest crowd, but since that moment, their ascension to success has been fuliginous. They have opened for John Mayer, BB King, and Social Distortion, have recorded a debut album in 2016, ‘Give It Back to You’, whose lead single ‘Off the Ground’ reached #1 on the US Billboard Adult Alternative Songs chart. The album was even nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Contemporary Blues Album in 2017. I presume this is not too bad for frontman Chris Vos, who grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm, … They have now released a second album ‘All Of This Life’, and have a US tour in the fall, ending with a date in LA at the Wiltern in November.
They were playing an intimate show at Amoeba on Thursday night, and the trio gave us a taste of their fresh new music, still inspired by a gritty, stomping, swampy blues, but presenting many more nuances. Chris Vos, who effortlessly goes from guitar to lap steel, is still the leader of the pack with a deep voice and a confident stage presence, which nevertheless stays on the humble side, despite their recent success.
Songs like ‘I’m Getting Better’ still distilled their signature infectious bluesy tempo à la John Lee Hooker (one of their main inspirations), while ‘The Movie Song’ had a wide-screen vibe à la Springsteen meets the Stones, stretching with arena-rock jams. Vos shredded the lap guitar on a badass ‘Roll Bones’, always backed up by the cool bass lines of Alex Stiff and the effervescent drumming of Marc Cazoria.
The trio was pretty much straightforward with their music and statements, thanking people who have always been there for them, being grateful to have the chance to make a second record and expand their songwriting. ‘You and Me Now’, was introduced by Chris Vos as the first love song they have ever written, and turned out to be a much more restrained ballad than their usual freak-out brand of blues
And the trio still can’t believe their success: ‘When we made the first record, we had absolutely no expectation, and didn’t expect something like radio,’ explained Chris Vos towards the end of the show…now that you can hear their bluesy rock songs about everywhere, from Coors commercials to CSI series or ABC’s Nashville… and they sure have to get used to it! If they are not reinventing anything here, the Record Company are a talented bunch, who can put on a very entertaining show with a blistering blues number and a genuine bonhomie, too rare in this business
I’m Getting Better
The Movie Song
Goodbye to the Hard Life
Off the Ground
You and Me Now
Life to Fix