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Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown Shake Things Up

| Monday, March 31, 2014

TylerBryant_BannerWEBErin Rice

Everybody has a strategy to get through his or her Mondays. Perhaps there is also a tactic for Tuesdays, Wednesdays or just the week in its entirety. In order to keep self-morale at its peak, my strategy is to keep my headphones in my ears at any moment possible. Getting from Haggar Hall to DeBartolo Hall requires a well-paced metronome of tune and a mood-setting melody.

Without a doubt, whilst crossing quads, my favorite playlists are filled with songs that put a smirk on my face and a pace to my step. The selection of music sends one message reverberating through my body: “You have today in the palm of your hand; nobody can mess with you.” Over the past few months, these playlists have been filled with gritty hip-hop and ominous glitch-hop instrumentals. The search in a promising change of pace seemed hopeless — until Saturday night at Legends, when Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown came to town. Their performance catalyzed a full-blown delve into their repertoire that has officially taken claim of my intimidation-factor, get-me-through-the-day playlist.

Legends’ venue laid the perfect set-up for Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown. This band reminded me of the value of intimacy between the performer and audience. Often, big names lose connection to their fan base through barriers such as front-row ropes and little contact with the audience — for example, just driving through a set and taking no time to share their story. Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown encouraged one philosophy: A true shakedown doesn’t take kindly to barriers.

The full set touched upon my favorite variations of rock music. “Downtown Tonight” and “Poor Boy’s Dream” kept the swing and heart of blues alive and well. Songs like “Don’t Come Cheap” and “Lipstick Wonder Woman” combined this feel with a style of classic rock that is incredibly rare to come by nowadays. This combination of musical style, along with their unique and energetic presence, made for the perfect performance.

All four of the band members took the opportunity to get just inches away from the people they were playing for. Tyler Bryant, lead vocalist and guitarist, introduced each group member, which prompted each member to perform a memorable and remarkable solo.

Noah Denney, bassist, pulled strings throughout the entire performance that notably led each song’s sense of emotion. The emotional output was on a wide spectrum; Denney laid down the perfect foundation for each and any circumstance. Needless to say, Denney’s bass solo took on an emotion of its own, provoking the inevitable response hip sways and head nods.

Graham Whitford, guitarist, took solo to a new level. Remember that intimidation factor I mentioned earlier? This guitar solo embodies that. The movement in Whitford’s hands, and the sound emitting from his guitar, was completely entrancing. True talent on such a complex instrument is not easy to come by — but was palpably present in Whitford.

Next was Caleb Crosby, drummer for the band. Crosby did not take the backseat for his solo. Crosby brought his drum front and center, lifted his arms and took the stage with his incredible capacity to build music. Any section, piece or part of the drum was an opportunity to make music. After giving the audience a pseudo-ending to his solo, Crosby headed for the audience and jumped to the floor, hitting his sticks against the linoleum, dropping the audience’s jaws at the quick-paced and creative continuation.

Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown brought a phenomenal performance. Their musical content is powerful. The sounds they take hold of shed light of performers such as Stevie Ray Vaughan and The Steepwater Band. Listeners could let their hair loose and throw their hands around. Riffs on the guitar would make listeners turn to each other and nod in extraordinary approval. Aside from my time as a live music enthusiast, and having built a steady list of live performances outside of the University, I am a nightclub staff member at Legends. This has allowed me to see a great deal of musicians. Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown’s show was hands down the best rock performance I have seen live in years. To see this group again would be a real treat, and I recommend everybody take the chance to do so at least once.

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