By John Curley
The Los-Angeles-based blues/rock trio, The Record Company, have had one heck of a year so far. Releasing their debut album, Give It Back To You, in February of this year, the band, which is comprised of Chris Vos (guitar, lead vocals, harmonica), Alex Stiff (bass, guitar, vocals), and Marc Cazorla (drums, vocals), has been touring extensively and performing before ecstatic, raucous crowds. The audience which I was part of when I saw them live at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, NJ over the summer certainly was rowdy and quite vocal in their support of the band. The crowd for their sold-out show at Bowery Ballroom in New York City on Thursday night, October 27th was no different.
The evening kicked off with an extremely enjoyable set by the Nashville-based duo Muddy Magnolias, Jessy Wilson and Kallie North, who are touring in support of their debut album Broken People. Wilson and North were backed by a three-piece band (guitar, bass, and drums). They were both clad in glittery jackets, and had the crowd on their side for all of their 35 minutes onstage. Muddy Magnolias combine rock, soul, and funk as a crowd-pleasing mixture, and they received a massive, and well-deserved, reaction from the crowd when their set came to a close.
Following an interval of about 30 minutes, The Record Company hit the stage and blew the roof off of the place straight away with the blues crunch of “On The Move.” Vos both played harmonica and sang into his harmonica mic, which gave his vocals a distorted sound. Vos bounded around the stage while playing his harmonica parts, which drew cheers from the packed house. They ripped right into “Baby I’m Broken,” which featured Vos on electric guitar. Vos was flailing around while playing, which ratcheted up the energy in the already worked-up crowd. The stomping “Hard Day Coming Down” followed, which had Vos on acoustic guitar and harmonica. It received a big roar from the audience at the end.
Vos took a seat and played the guitar on his lap for the bluesy, country-style “Rita Mae Young.” But the crowd didn’t let up, roaring their approval for the performance of the song. The rocker “Feels So Good” had Vos on Telecaster, thrashing around while he was playing as the crowd was bopping along and going bonkers. There was a bass break in the middle of the song that both showed off Stiff’s musical chops and let Vos catch his breath. “Turn Me Loose” started out as a bluesy, downbeat kind of rock song and slowly built to a massive crescendo that led to a loud and explosive ending.
Vos told the crowd that the band was shocked but quite pleased to receive a gift earlier in the day of a bottle of very expensive Scotch from David Lee Roth. And in introducing the next song, “Don’t Let Me Get Lonely,” Vos told the crowd that the song was their tribute to John Lee Hooker’s style of blues boogie music. When they played the song, Vos had the crowd singing along in a call-and-response bit. It got very heavy at the end and received a huge roar from the crowd.
Vos talked to the crowd for a bit about how the band had formed five years ago and, right around the time that the band got together, Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch of The Beastie Boys passed away. Vos said that they wanted to pay tribute to Yauch in his hometown, so they proceeded to play a cover of The Beasties’ “So What’cha Want” that was very effectively reworked as a blues rocker with pounding bass and nice guitar work by Vos.
“This Crookled City” had Vos on acoustic guitar, and it started off soft and built up in volume and power. The crowd gave it a nice hand. The performance of “Off The Ground,” which featured Stiff’s thundering bass and terrific guitar work by Vos, had the crowd roaring.
Prior to playing the final song of the main set, “The Burner,” Vos stated that The Record Company were the musical guest on that night’s broadcast of CBS-TV’s The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. And he thanked the crowd for all of the support that the band has received on this tour, which is their first as a headline act. The raucous performance of “The Burner” began with Vos seated with an acoustic guitar on his lap. It started out kind of funky and then went in a bluegrass direction. It ended as a full-on rocker, with Vos singing into his harmonica mic to get that distorted vocal sound and then tearing into a harmonica solo. The song also featured a bass break in the middle. It was explosive at the end and brought the house down.
Following a break of less than a minute, The Record Company returned to the stage for the encore. They closed the show with “In The Mood For You,” which featured Vos’ crunching guitar and Stiff’s ponding bass. Vos thrashed around, rocking out at the end of the song as the crowd went ballistic. It was a terrific end to what had been a barn burner of a show.
The three members of The Record Company work very well together, their musical bond honed by five years of touring. They certainly know how to work the crowd. It was a privilege to get to see them in a smallish venue like Bowery Ballroom. It seems likely that they will be playing larger venues on future tours as their fan base grows by leaps and bounds.
Additional information about Muddy Magnolias along with their tour dates can be found at http://www.muddymagnolias.com/.
The Record Company’s Web site at http://therecordcompany.net/ features tour dates, videos, and more.
The Record Company’s set at Bowery Ballroom was as follows:
On The Move
Baby I’m Broken
Hard Day Coming Down
Rita Mae Young
Feels So Good
Turn Me Loose
Don’t Let Me Get Lonely
So What’cha Want (cover of song by The Beastie Boys)
This Crooked City
Off The Ground
In The Mood For You
The Record Company’s performance of “On The Move” from the Thursday, October 27th broadcast of CBS-TV’s The Late Show With Stephen Colbert can be seen below: