Sage Gateshead run a hugely affecting marketing campaign where famous musicians spanning genres extol the virtues of the venue’s supreme sound quality and its attraction to seasoned professionals.
Yet, unsurprisingly, none of the featured big names praise it as the perfect place to clean up and move on for bands traversing the UK’s live music circuit. That’s just one of the many reasons acclaimed US rockers Vintage Trouble can’t wait to reconnect with a venue they describe as a second home.
“Nowhere else would let us do our laundry even though we’re not playing the venue and we’re only passing through,” smiles guitarist Nalle Colt. “But then nowhere else is like The Sage.
“They’ve looked after us from day one. We first turned up there supporting Brian May from Queen. Nobody really knew who we were but we were treated so well. After that we played the smaller hall but our ambition was always to headline the main hall. Now that dream’s about to come true and we can’t quite believe it.
“We love the place. The staff are so welcoming. One night they let us hang out in the main hall in the middle of the night even when we weren’t due to play there. They just let us dream. They’ve made us breakfast there. Another time they helped to set up some classes with kids from the local art college. I think we might be doing the same kind of thing again this time.
“And of course, like all the musicians who play there, we love the sound and the acoustics of the place. It really is a very special venue where Vintage Trouble are concerned.”
That the Sage just happens to be on Tyneside is an added advantage. It’s a part of the world that embraced Vintage Trouble, fronted by charismatic lead singer Ty Taylor, from the start when the band managed to squeeze their enormous tour bus into the side road leading down to Newcastle’s Cluny on the hottest night of 2011.
Last year the band played two sets in one night in the city – opening up for The Who at Newcastle Arena before hot-footing it to Northumbria University for a simply stunning headline show that lasted long into the following morning.
“That Cluny show was the hottest gig we’ve ever played in our lives,” recalled Taylor, fresh from three nights in Texas and a sold-out show in New Orleans.
“Our tour bus nearly didn’t fit and then we all squeezed into The Cluny for what turned out to be a truly remarkable show. It was one of the first times that we realised how much people in the UK really wanted us to play. It was just dripping with sweat. Not just the walls – the women, their men, everyone.
“We love Tyneside. We always look forward to seeing the bridge, visiting the restaurants, meeting the local Troublemakers and enjoying that feeling of being in a home from home. We have a very special affinity with the people of the North East.”
After Gateshead comes Glastonbury. “We’re very, very excited about coming back to Glastonbury,” admits drummer Richard Danielson. “It’s one of the great live music festivals in the world. To play there once was a thrill and to play there for a second time is incredible. There are so many great bands on the bill again.
“We were on the bill for the first time last year and it was great. We were told about the view when you look down from the hill and see the crowds for the first time but it was still an amazing sight. It’s like Glastonbury becomes its own city. It’s unbelievable what an energy it has and for any band it’s a very special musical moment playing there.”
For a band that’s only released one full album to date – 2011’s critically acclaimed The Bomb Shelter Sessions – Vintage Trouble remain remarkably relaxed about meeting the demand from fans for new music.
“We’re actually arriving in England armed with a new EP,” adds Colt. “It’s called the Swing House Sessions and it’s an acoustic record. Plus we’ve just signed with the Blue Note label so we’re super excited about that and no doubt they’ll be after a new album soon! There should be a full album coming out at the end of this year.
“We knew the UK Troublemakers wouldn’t let us come back without something new this time. Most of the time when we write songs we’re on the tour bus and they start off as acoustic songs so we approached the new EP from that angle. We’ve managed to write some really great new songs – honestly!”