Photo by Rich Pantaleo
There’s something to be said about the timelessness of classic rock and blues styles. Decades after their first rise to prominence, many artists are still delivering those passionate, tried-and-true elements in innovative ways, to the delight of audiences of all ages. One such local act is Tim Vitullo (and his band.) They will be bringing their particular blend of old and new to Diesel this coming Thursday night, February 23rd, to open up for The Marcus King Band. Fans of local acts such as Dan Getkin and the Twelve Six, Wreck Loose, and even Chet Vincent and the Big Bend will all find something to like in this lineup. If you enjoy story-telling songwriting, passionate guitars and vocals, and the soulful swank of accompanying key and horn sections, this is definitely a show you’ll want to check out.
Vitullo’s band is fleshed out by Brett McConnell on drums; David Fix on double bass, bass guitar, and vocals; and Ryan Mocniak on saxophone, guitar, and vocals. Their most recent release is a twelve-track album, “Josephine & Assorted Train Songs,” which came out in August 2015. They’re working on new material now, but in the meantime, this record offers impressive range and appealing consistency in both subject matter and musical elements. From the fast tempo and cheery horns of “Wake Up,” to the old-school organ riffs and call-and-response vocals of the lead single “Josephine,” to a sparse, moody ballad about emotional turmoil in “A Different Kind of Blue,” Vitullo and company prove they’re not one-trick ponies. The lead vocals and guitar from Vitullo himself are lovely and skillful throughout as well.
The Marcus King Band, meanwhile, is a South-Carolina-based group with close to 30k Facebook followers and 80k Spotify listeners, and a fitting stylistic match. Listing such influences as The Allman Brothers Band, Marshall Tucker Band, and Miles Davis, they describe their sound as “soul-influenced psychedelic southern rock.” They too make excellent use of keys and organs, with a bit more of an emphasis on a guitar that combines a Skynyrd-esque tone with head-nodding, captivating arrangements. Lead singer Marcus King’s voice is a unique, appealing blend of grit and swoon—think John Fogerty meets Neil Young. (Check out their tune “Devil’s Land” if you want to get a good sense of their style.) Their stop at Diesel is part of a nationwide tour in support of their new self-titled album, which dropped in October 2016, so this might be your last chance to see them here for a while. Don’t miss it.
All in all, this Thursday looks to be a celebration of the enduring power of blues, soul, and classic rock, put on by an impressive collection of passionate and talented players. Tickets are $14, and can be purchased here or at the door. The show starts at 8 PM at Diesel on the South Side. Check out the Facebook event page for further details. If you’re busy, Vitullo will be opening for Mo Lowda & The Humble at Brillobox on Friday, February 24th (more info here), and will be headlining a show at the James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy on Thursday, March 30th (more info here.)