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Live & Local

Live & Local: Vincent Vega

Photo: Steven Gilmore, License: N/A

Steven Gilmore

Shoes and booze — Vincent Vega's Alyson Alonzo at the Korova.

Though the line-up was all-around swell for the Rock Your Socks Off Festival at The Korova last Friday night (festival founder Alex Arredondo said 250 pairs of shoes to be donated to Soles 4 Souls were collected at the door), San Antonio duo Vincent Vega, in particular, turned in a legitimately inspired and inspiring performance.

Singer-songwriter and soul siren Alyson Alonzo sounded a little bit out of control at certain moments, wailing over the patient and loose noodling of guitarist Jeff Escamilla — that is precisely why their set felt so organically trance-inducing. Alternately violently virtuosic and sweet, Alonzo commanded the crowd gathered around the floor-level side stage with a rare, swaggerful angst and charm. Seeing and hearing these two perform their original songs was a captivating and strangely personal experience, as if witnessing a fit of emotional confession that was meant for a close friend. The Vincent Vega originals that comprised 75 percent of the set are songs about revenge, love, depression, and friendship that are as easy to identify with as they are to sway to. New-ish songs and standouts like "Stop Me" and "Oh, I'm Sorry" were funky, smooth, and gritty, showcasing both Escamilla's deft sense of musical space and Alonzo's mesmerizing ability to throw her powerful voice all around and still maintain the groove. There is no easy way to do their performance justice in broad music-writer strokes, but dirt floor cabaret, wandering blues, front lawn soul, and bohemian R&B are a few poetic genre side-steps that come to mind.

By the time they ended their brief set with crowd-pleasing covers "Are You That Somebody" (Aaliyah) and "Pony" (Ginuwine), nobody seemed too concerned that Education was about to play on the main stage. I came to the realization that Vincent Vega's emotionally arresting and sanguine songs are not throwbacks, a word buzzing on the lips of several of the onlookers, but contemporary R&B songs written and performed without the frustratingly sterilizing lust for glossiness that pervades that mode. Don't call Alonzo Beyoncé (or Joni Mitchell for that matter) — she is a creation of her own, writing and performing music with an innocent yet confident smolder that shows she knows that songs of the heart can be way more effective when you loosen up on giving a fuck. See Vincent Vega whenever you have the chance — you might just feel something for once.

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