A friend who attended this year’s edition of the Wacken Open Air festival said in an Instagram story from the Holy Ground: “go and see Vintage Caravan because they absolutely rock!”. Not long ago I discovered THE VINTAGE CARAVAN with their 5th studio album, ‘Monuments’ (2021) and it blew my mind into pieces and then thoses pieces blew up too. It was my 1# Rock album from that year, in fact. So on audio I knew these guys were the real deal, but what about live performances? With their visit on its way, alongside my friend’s suggestion, I was very eager to find out!
The event took place in Casa Colombo, in Buenos Aires city, with local band EL TRIANGULO kicking off the evening with an interesting mix of Stoner/Psychodelic/Bluesy Rock. Right from the start the sound mix was top notch, which is mostly odd for every band but the headliner…at least in Buenos Aires. Yeah, it culturally sucks, but hey, times are hopefully changing and small bands might start getting the respect they’ve always deserved. Also, it’s always positive when a good number of people are there to enjoy the whole evening and not just the main act.
Speaking about the protagonists, although the band was scheduled to play at 22 o’clock, they went up 5 minutes before. Not bad at all, it just took me by surprise (they should give Axl Rose a call and schooled him about that). Who knows the reason, but who cares, the opening with “Whispers” put every worry behind. From the first second the audience responded effusively to the icelandic trio. It was their second coming…er…no biblical pun intended, though both Óskar Logi Ágústsson (lead vocals and lead guitar) and Stefán Ari Stefánsson (drums) do look a lot like Jesus, am I right? The reason behind their Latin America 2023 tour was to present the previously mentioned ‘Monuments’ and presented they did. 5 tracks from the record went into the setlist, which is great because the new songs are quiet powerful on stage. The whole show is almost identical to their studio counterpart, and I say “almost” because the trio can go “beyond” the recorded material. It’s like they are at a 200% on stage. Moreover, it’s not a “stiff performance” in the sense that’s not “just playing”, but they play with the crowd too. That’s when the classic argentinian singing “Ole Ole Ole” met THE VINTAGE CARAVAN and a cheerful improvisation was born. Another funny moment was when at the end of “Crazy Horses” Stefán tried to teach us a few words in icelandic, but the result was pretty much like that episode from ‘Friends’ where Phoebe tries to teach Joey to speak french.
Since VINTAGE’s music is something relatively new to me, I keep discovering new material from them, and to have the opportunity to do that with them within a short distance from myself, is a huge privilege. That’s why massive hits such as “Reflections” and “On The Run” from ‘Gateways’ (2018), well, hit so freaking hard. The show got a little bit more special when Alexander Örn Númason (bass and backing vocals) mentioned that it was Óskar’s birthday that day. For any foreigner musician out there, every “Happy Birthday” is special, but to have an argentinian crown -perhaps the best crowd in the world- sing it to you feels like an honour.
Since VINTAGE’s still sort of a “young” band they can easily play something from their whole catalogue. However, ‘The Vintage Caravan’ (2011) was the sole excluded from the setlist. But they did have time to include a couple of solos and improvisations at the beginning of songs as in “Cocaine Sally”, and in the right amount I must point out. Not too short but not too long, and with the aim to entertain and not to show “how good they can play” (yeah, we know you can play really, really fast, Zakk Wylde, my friend). Oh, and they definitely can play fast as hell if they wanted to. For example, in the middle of Stefan’s drum solo they included a segment from Europe’s “Final Countdown” and Óskar nailed that virtuous solo like it was a simple task.
“Expend Your Mind” from ‘Voyage’ (2014) was the end of the main set, and for a moment we thought that was, in fact, the end of the show. But funny as their music videos shows them to be, the trio “just went to get a couple of beers to propose us a toast”. Oh the bises, some people believe them to be absurd, but I get that a little “reset” can make up to a great ending. “Midnight Meditation” was the chosen one to say goodbye to a wonderful gig. I just hope they come back to a bigger venue with a wider audience because as my friend said: “they absolutely rock”, and more people should enjoy their show. Until then I think we won’t be able to get them out of our minds, and hearts too.
Photos by Martin Darksoul
Review by Roger Alan Provan
Produced by Icarus Music
Publicist Marcela Scorca
Editor in Chief Maria Fernanda Capici