The Vidrines warm the cool crowd at Sundown concert

December 15, 2010

by Robert Wilson, Entertainment Editor

With custom suits, punk roots and a manic performance style, the Vidrines appeared at the Sundown Tavern Saturday night to provide quality entertainment for the few bar patrons unafraid of the chilling weather.

The North Louisiana-based quintet, who also share a last name, is comprised of vocalists Billy and Ronnie, guitarist Jamie, bassist Mitch and drummer Johnny Vidrine.

Formed officially in 2004, Ronnie said the band has been one of the most active in the area for some time, building on past experiences in other, largely punk, bands to guide their musical ambitions.

“For this, we wanted to be very different,” he said. “We wanted to be entertaining, but not wank.”

After deciding early on to build a fanbase with original material, the Vidrines have developed a unique sound with catchy rhythms, deep grooves and vocals that are less singing and more aggressively spoken words. Attempts to classify their sound have led people to associate them with genres from ska to “lounge punk.”

Although the band believes people are often confused by its sound, they also believe the diversity of their music has been a great factor in its longevity.

“We always say, ‘If you don’t like this song, stick around. You’ll like the next one,'” Jamie said.

Over the course of two hours the group kept their word. The Vidrines demonstrated their range from the psychedelic atmosphering of “Where Are My Pleasures” to the alternative-rock “Mom and Dad” and the funk-rhythms of fan favorite “This is a Bar.”

Complementing the music was a captivating stage show. Bill and Ronnie jumped and shook as though overcome by some powerful force, even moving offstage and onto the dance floor, while Jamie, Mitch and Johnny provided driving riffs, dressed in professional suits.

“We always treat every show as if it’s the last show,” Johnny said.

Their work ethic paid off throughout the night, generating greater amounts of applause after every song. However, the audience only numbered around three dozen.

Stew McCulloch, a music education major at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, said he heard about the band from friends.

“They have two singers, which you don’t see often, but they do it well,” he said.

“They were really high-energy. It was a good show, but it would have been cool with more people.”

Amber Gresham, a senior merchandising and consumer studies major at Tech, also enjoyed how the Vidrines were “different from what you [normally] hear around here,” but also thought a larger audience would have been better.

Despite the low turnout, the Vidrines were not fazed. Johnny said he has been playing at Sundown since he was a teenager, and even when sparse, the response is always good.

“Whether there’s 100 people or just two, we’re going to give the best show we can,” Billy said.

For the future, the band is looking to overcome the difficulty of translating the power of its live show to CD as well as build a “grass-roots movement” for support and to help them access new venues and audiences.

“A following is hard to do,” Johnny said.

“We want to get to new venues and hopefully have the audience use word of mouth so we when we return, we can play for more people. Other than that, we’re going to learn along the way.”

E-mail comments to rww015@latech.edu.