For all intents and purposes, one could easily take a look at Vinnie Ferra – Californian singer/songwriter residing in Los Angeles, rockin both the banjo and the semi-indie, semi-hipster look, perhaps a fan of Fleet Foxes and Edward Sharpe – and dismiss him at first glance as another nothing-special SoCal crooner.
Don’t be someone who makes this mistake.
I had the unexpected pleasure of seeing Vinnie play on the final date of his band’s residency at the Silver Lake Lounge Monday night. The first thing that hit me was the band’s sound – these guys were tight. Again, you might not guess it from looking the crew on stage. The word “Salvation” in lights was set above a mix of sleeveless tees, skinny ties and suspenders, derby tweed caps, black and white dress shoes, and at least one full-bodied, scraggly beard playing everything from electric Rhodes to banjos to violin. But rest assured, they know exactly what they’re doing.
After the richness of the sound and power of the band got my attention, I continued to be drawn in deeper. Vinnie commands the stage with an expressive, though not over-zealous presence and a voice that is both nuanced with emotion and extremely pleasing to the ear, especially his falsetto. And then the list goes on: at the top of which are the great songs – from the self-proclaimed downer “Ghost Town” to the bluesy, visceral “Golden”, and the fact at the whole group is never shy about showing how much fun they’re having.
Vinnie’s music undoubtedly has its roots in blues and folk, but he also calls upon the indie/alternative songwriter vibe and the best aspects of dirty, barn-burning stomp rock. This is a band you want to see play outside a dive bar somewhere in the backwoods while you get drunk from a jug of moonshine whiskey marked XXX and participate in what can only be labeled loosely as “dancing” – probably something resembling an aggressive two-and-a-half-step.
While I wait for them to book that gig though, I’ll just have to satisfy myself with the CD of acoustic songs I picked up at after the set (also available on his site) and keep a diligent look out for where their next show will be.
See you there, I’ll bring the moonshine.