For Chris Vos – the son of a Wisconsin dairy farmer and veteran of the Milwaukee music scene – his wedding was the happiest day of his life.
The second happiest: Performing his first show this year with his Grammy-nominated Los Angeles-based blues rock trio, The Record Company, after COVID-19 shut down the live music industry in 2020.
“It took every lump in me to not become a mess,” Vos told the Sentinel Journal. “I was as high as ever. My heart was exploding.”
With COVID robbing the concert world, “I know what it feels like to think you might not be playing anymore, and it’s a terrible feeling,” Vos said. “To have the chance to play again is amazing. We put everything we have into every show.”
Following:Yes, the concerts are back. Get tickets to these new Milwaukee shows.
Fans in 32 North American cities are about to see it for themselves. Two days after releasing their third full-length album, “Play Loud”, on Concord Records on Friday, the record company will launch a six-week tour of Vos’s old hometown, Milwaukee, at the Turner Hall Ballroom on Sunday.
“We will never do the first show on a first tour again after such an absence,” Vos said. “This is a special case.”
It’s a special tour not only because it will feature some of the group’s first shows since the pandemic. These are also the trio’s first concerts – Vos on vocals, guitar and harmonica; Alex Stiff on bass; and Marc Cazorla on drums – will perform with additional support. Johnny Elkins on guitar, who was Vos’s guitar technician, and Wesley Flowers on keyboards and backing vocals join the band on the road.
“Old songs have a different sparkle,” Vos said. “And when you listen to the new album and you wonder how we’re going to do it in three tracks, well, we’ll do it in five tracks.… We will keep every element live. We don’t play for track. is not who we are.
The additional hires for the record company were needed, Vos suggests, to do the new songs justice. For the group’s Grammy-nominated debut album “Give It Back to You” in 2016 and the follow-up “All of This Life” two years later, the record company worked in-house.
For “Play Loud” they wanted for the first time to work with an outside producer, finding the right solution with veteran Dave Sardy, who has worked in the studio with stars like Red Hot Chili Peppers, LCD Soundsystem and The Who, and has produces Modest Mouse’s acclaimed new studio album, “The Golden Casket”.
“Working with Dave Sardy you’re either a jet engine sitting on the tarmac or you’re in the air at 5,600 miles an hour. There’s no middleman,” Vos said. “He’s losing sleep with you, he’s obsessed with getting it right.… He made us stretch, explore and focus on the lyrics.… I think we learned a lot more about doing it right. ‘be songwriters. “
The Record Company started working with Sardy in late 2019 – then abruptly put sessions on hold at their home studio in Los Angeles when the pandemic began. The group was able to continue last year by following strict safety guidelines; the studio was the only other place the trio visited outside of their home, Vos said.
“It was the most exciting thing I have done creatively,” Vos said. “The whole process was a beacon for us.… It was a really complicated and dark time for everyone, and we had the opportunity to work on what we love to do.… It brought me back. at 14 – old kid where the only thing I wanted to do was play music. “
Abandoning a mentality that they couldn’t attempt anything in the studio that they couldn’t do live, The Record Company released their biggest sounding album with “Play Loud”. There are more dance floor ready grooves on the dozen tracks – the first song they did with Sardi ended with the title “Get Up and Dance!” – with the group taking inspiration from artists like Tame Impala and St. Vincent as they added layers to their blues-rock sound.
And as for the lyrics, Vos said there were some songs written in response to the pandemic, such as “Live As One,” an uplifting call for unity during such a tumultuous and divisive time.
“My dad always says the sun rises tomorrow until it doesn’t rise tomorrow,” Vos said. “We have limited time here. I want to spend my life trying to do my best to be positive.”
And for that first tour after the pandemic, Vos wanted to make sure Milwaukee was doing the route. Originally, the city was not on the list due to scheduling conflicts, but at Vos’s insistence, the group’s booking team were able to set a date at Turner Hall at the start of the race.
“Playing Milwaukee is like a wedding ceremony, a family reunion, a reunion of old bands and there are new faces,” Vos said. “It will be a truly moving but magnificent experience.”
If you are going to
What: The Record Company with JJ Wilde
When: 8 p.m. Sunday
Or: Turner Hall Ballroom, 1040 N. Phillips Ave.
How much?: $ 26.50 at the door and pabsttheater.org.
Security protocols: Proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test (done within 72 hours of concert) required for entry. Masks strongly encouraged.
Piet also talks about concerts, local music and more on “TAP’d In” with Evan Rytlewski. Listen to it at 8 p.m. Thursdays on WYMS-FM (88.9) or wherever you get your podcasts.