On the road supporting Hall of Fame rock legend Bob Seger on his farewell tour, The Record Company headlined its first-ever appearance in Reno on Friday and neither the band nor the Cargo Concert Hall crowd left disappointed.
Squeezing Reno in between Seger gigs in Sacramento and Las Vegas, the trio that cut its first hit record in a living room seemed happy to be back in the top spot performing for a sold-out, intimate crowd. Devoted local fans were thrilled to have these guys in the Biggest Little City. They sang, cheered and danced with all they had and the band definitely noticed.
Mixing barn-burners and ballads from its debut, Grammy-nominated record, “Give It Back To You, and the latest album “All Of This Life,” which hit the streets last summer, it was clear early in the set why The Record Company has earned a faithful following and risen relatively quickly.
Lead singer and guitarist Chris Vos is an undeniable talent. His soulful vocal efforts are rich with unforced rock star charisma and he can growl at the moon or rise in falsetto at any moment. The energetic Vos also showed he’s more than just pipes, displaying wide versatility with lap steel, slide, blues and rock guitar riffs and harmonica. Think elements of Ben Harper, Darius Rucker, and JJ Grey, not too shabby.
While Vos clearly has full credentials as a frontman, you can’t hide in a trio. No song exhibited that better than “Goodbye To A Hard Life.” The slow, aching ballad was not only performed with tight precision between bassist Alex Stiff and drummer Marc Cazorla, but the upper registers of Vos’ vocals were beautifully enhanced by the pair’s backing chorus harmony, a hallmark shared with the majority of their compositions.
The Record Company also demonstrated it isn’t afraid to take on some big-time covers, dropping an acoustic version of Grateful Dead’s “New Speedway Boogie” and a bumping “So Watcha Want” from The Beastie Boys.
Cargo was set up in a half-seated, half-standing configuration, that I personally wish they’d do away with, particularly for bands that unquestionably incite movement and participation. As the band prepared to close its main set, Vos summoned the entire crowd to its feet. “Y’all have been really nice and respectful to us all night, but that’s over,” he said. “Y’all need to get on up out of those chairs cause we gonna turn this place into a roadhouse.”
With that, all the seats were suddenly tush-less and the room became a swaying, arm-waving throng on a ripping “Life To Fix” and throughout the two-song encore. Frankly, I wish he’d have done it a lot earlier.
After the final notes, The Record Company took a bow and, on his way off stage, Vos made his way back to his microphone and let the crowd know that they’d enjoyed their first visit to Reno. Breaking into a big smile, the kind where the eyes tell you it’s legit, he said, “We’ll be back.” This summer, June 6 is an open date on the routing between Sacramento and Salt Lake City. Just sayin’, Cargo.
— Michael Smyth
The Record Company
March 1, 2019
Cargo Concert Hall
Baby I’m Broken
On The Move
Hard Day Coming Down
The Movie Song
Rita Mae Young
New Speedway Boogie [(Grateful Dead cover)
Goodbye To The Hard Life
Make It Happen
Turn Me Loose
So Watcha Want [Beastie Boys cover] Off The Ground
You And Me Now
Life To Fix
This Crooked City
I’m Getting Better (And I’m Feeling It Right Now)