With less than a year under their belt as a band, Vinnie and the Hooligans exceed expectations in every way.
The five-man band will be showcasing their mix of bluegrass and Americana folk songs in the Titan Student Union Underground Pub on Thursday.
The performance will follow the Becker time-budget and run from noon to 1 p.m.
The band’s sound can easily be compared with Irish folk/punk legends The Pogues and Flogging Molly. With his growling rough voice and blue-collar ballads, Vinnie Carlini and his band of hooligans are sure to inspire foot stomping from the crowd.
Carlini will be joined onstage by Miguel Gonzales (standup bass), Mike Pham (banjo), Maxwell Esposito (mandolin, violin and fiddle) and Scott Young (accordion) with Carlini as lead singer and guitar.
The group claims to be “five fine men providing music for the working class.”
Most of the group considers themselves blue-collar workers. Currently Carlini spends his evenings delivering pizzas while also working odd jobs here and there. It doesn’t really get anymore blue collar than that.
“We’re all blue-collar workers … a lot of the music that I’m writing now has to do with the working class, kind of like songs for hope,” said Carlini.
The allure of playing this type of music varies for each member of the band, but for the stand up bass player the reason is simple.
“It’s uplifting,” Gonzales said.
Additionally, Esposito and Young are both barbers in their day-to-day lives.
And although much of the band came from punk musical backgrounds, the instruments they play gravitate more towards bluegrass folk-style music.
Pham was a part of the band Antagen, and only recently switched from guitar to banjo.
“I decided to pick up the banjo after I saw a Dropkick Murphys show in L.A.,” Pham said. “It was either banjo or bagpipes, but since my roommates would kill me if I chose bagpipes, I went with banjo.”
The band’s freshness should not be taken out of context though; in less than a year together, they have already accomplished a great deal.
The band’s EP, Folk Yeah, is available for download on iTunes. It gives a five-song taste of the band’s sound and musical variation.
On the EP, some stand out songs that showcase the band’s message are “Hellbound,” which is a working class song for hope, and “Desperate Man,” which draws a connection from anyone who hears it.
“Desperate Man” is a song that anyone can relate to because everyone has been in the position where they’ve been wronged or hurt by someone, said Carlini.
“It’s kind of just one of those things where everybody’s felt small, everyone’s felt like a small person before, but I don’t think a lot of people like to share that,” Carlini said. “(The song) connects to them in the sense that someone’s speaking for them.”
Vinnie and the Hooligans plan to release a full-length album by the end of the year. For now the band continues to grow by playing as many shows as possible.
In March, they were given an enormous opportunity as far as audience exposure goes. They were given a last minute slot to perform at Southern California’s annual tattoo and music festival, MusInk.
The three-day festival is held at the Orange County fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. Some of the heavy-hitters in the music industry that have performed include Bad Religion, Lagwagon, Pennywise and Johnny Two Bags of Social Distortion.
The five-man band wanted to put on a “damn good show” Carlini said.
“Our goal at that was just to play as best we can, and be professional about it too, like get on and off stage without being in anybody’s way and just take care of our business,” Carlini said.
For anyone on campus Thursday, a free show in the Pub seems to be a fitting way to kick off spring break.
Vinnie and the Hooligans can be found here: Facebook.com/VinnieAndTheHooligans?fref=ts.
Upcoming performances will also include the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa on May 4 and the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano on May 24.