At the VFW last winter, I witnessed VTO’s return to rock and roll music after its years-long hiatus due to familial obligations. Post-set, they regrouped at the bar and earnestly recounted how the performance went with the vigor of a baseball team who had just lost a game after boasting a six-run lead at the top of the ninth inning. It was clear that they were serious about music, but not serious enough about themselves to skip playing old school tracks about girls and aliens. In one form or another, VTO has been around since 1992. These days some of the band members are “coming out of the haze of having little kids,” says guitarist and vocalist Charlie Beaton and beginning to recover some personal time in their day-to-day lives, “I didn’t realize how much I missed playing music.” The band is currently filled out by Joe Bates on guitar, Brian Collins on drums and bassist Greg Twigg. However, for an upcoming performance they will also be joined by original drummer Yale Kaul for a couple of tunes. Kaul will also be playing drums with loudcore, old-guy outfit Humpy that same night. Adding some sweetness to this rock and roll pancake is Mary Jo “Butterworth” Reynolds, who returns to VTO after being whisked away by Love Battery’s frontman during an Indy block party back in the 90s. All this reminiscing about the past is great, as are reunions with old bandmates and friends, but VTO marches forward, continuing to record new tunes at Club Shmed Studios. The songs are country and punk in style. Those styles are embraced by the band because “People appreciate simple music.” Although the final week of the VFW residency is billed as “VTO Goes Country,” the music of youth still inspires the 38 to 43-year-old bandmates to continue rocking the free world. “It feels great to still be playing punk rock music,” Beaton says.
VFW, 245 W. Main St. 9 PM. $2.