Posted by: Captain Easychord | November 22, 2009

Free Music Sunday: Vibro Kings – You Know It (Just Ain’t Right)

With Thanksgiving upon us, much of America is gearing up to go home for a long weekend of turkey, football and family.  Yours truly won’t be traveling back to Pittsburgh, but that doesn’t mean that Free Music Sunday can’t take a week to reflect back upon the hometown and its music.

In the mid-to-late 90’s, Pittsburgh bands attained some local popularity, thanks in large part to airplay on local radio stations and a seemingly endless number of local music festivals.  One particular show featuring seven local acts, plus one nationally-known artist sticks out in my mind, however (and not just because I piled into a car with 8 or 9 strangers to get back home when the T stopped running before the show ended).  There was just some allure to seeing most of the bands that were on the bill that night… some were known favorites, with some I had heard good buzz and others, I was just curious.

The one band that looked kinda blah was set to play mid-set, providing a nice little break to a full afternoon and evening of live music.  But when the frontman came out on stilts wearing a red, white and blue sequined Uncle Sam outfit… well, I figured that I had to see what these guys had to offer.  Turns out, it was the best set of the night.

This was my introduction to the Vibro Kings [m], a band that quickly became my favorite local act in large part because of lead singer Doug Khorey’s irrepressible charisma and their high-energy shows.  While their song catalog was pretty good and well-suited to the band, what really set the Vibro Kings apart was their work on stage.  Because they put on such a fantastic live show (often including a great cover of Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish”), I would go to see these guys put on a show whenever I could, even if they were playing outside on a freezing cold New Year’s Eve.

Sadly, in September 1999 – right after I moved back to Pittsburgh after college – the band played a last show and called it quits (on my newly ex-girlfriend’s birthday, no less).  So it was much to my surprise when earlier this year, I discovered that the band had gotten back together, moved to Nashville and started putting out new material.  Listening to the new tracks over at the band’s Myspace page, however, I feel like the band has lost touch with what made it tick in the first place.  Where previously you had irreverent tracks like “Locomotive Man” or wistful nostalgic recollections like “Love Song,” now we’re getting stuff that sounds like “music with a message”… not exactly a strength of the band.

That said, if it helps ’em sell some records, I’m not going to hold it against them.  After all, they’ve already given me plenty of great memories.  And if they come to play DC, I’m absolutely there.  Now go take-a-listen to this live version of “You Know It (Just Ain’t Right),” taken from the band’s debut EP, Live At Fat City.  Enjoy!



  1. I just wanted to let you know how much this made me smile and feel like I accomplished something in life. I stumbled onto this via a google search as we are preparing to do a reunion show at Club Cafe in Pittsburgh on 12/27. (I also enjoyed reading through rest of the blog). Thank you again 🙂

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