The Vigilantes of Love

By Patrick Fitzgerald

The name, I must admit, had me a little scared. I could just see it bad perms, Spandex, silver lame guitars and sexist songs about teen-age girls they had proudly deflowered… but the Vigilantes of Love from Athens, Ga. were none of that and a he-- of a lot more. The band played at the Butchertown Pub on February 5 and wowed the fifteen or twenty people who "happened to be at the Pub that night.

I met the band as they were stuffing their faces at the Pub after a long drive in the midpoint of their tour, including clubs in cities such as Louisville, Nashville, Dallas and L.A. They wore regular clothes and I only discovered that they were the band after asking several people in the place, "Are you the band?"

They admitted to being the band and proceeded to raid the stage with an acoustic set that displayed the open, driven sound of an acoustic guitar, an accordion (that's right, an accordion) and drums.

Lead singer Bill Mallonee became my newest lyrical hero as he sang out some of the best songs I've heard in a while. His open, expressive and slightly twangy vocals really gave life to his raw, expressive, if not sarcastic, vocals. Bill was backed up by accordion extraordinaire Mark Hall and drummer Mike Kennedy. It was nice to hear an accordion played as the melodic and beautiful instrument it can be if played well.

After the acoustic opening act, the three were joined by guitarist Newt Carter and acoustic bass player Eric Agner. They added a nice filling out of the sound without covering the acoustic feel at all.

Their songs are all fantastic and the band's energy level is refreshing, as they really get into what they're doing. Bill also managed to take the time to relate with the intimate crowd at the Pub and the end result was a very likeable band that plays great music.