Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights
Brooklyn Bowl, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
November 6th, 2011
Concert Review: Jonathan Tyler & the Northern Lights At Brooklyn Bowl
The sound of southern-style bluesy roots rock is not necessarily new. Bands like the Allman Brothers, ZZ Top, and more modern contemporaries like The Black Crowes have been perfecting this sound for years. So when a band attempts to play within these general parameters, they truly need to set themselves apart to define their sound. Dallas, Texas’ Jonathan Tyler & the Northern Lights have managed to do just that with a fiery, energetic, and supremely talented group of musicians. While the group may be young, Sunday night’s performance at Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Bowl proved if nothing else, they are well aged in the spirit of true blues and rock n’ roll.
Led by 24 year old Jonathan Tyler, the versatile frontman commands the stage like he’s been doing it for decades. His sound reveals that perhaps an old soul is living somewhere deep inside of him, pushing its way out through his every drawled lyric and with every staggered breath into his harmonica. Throughout the hour long set the diminutive, but appreciative crowd (what does New York know about southern rock anyways?) marveled as he sang and shredded guitar all with seemingly great ease. His live talents were of no surprise, especially after learning that he, like many of his rock forefathers, had was self-taught on the axe.
With bowling balls crushing pins in the background, the quintet promptly took centerstage at
10pm Sunday night, as many inside the bowling alley meets concert hall left their friends mid-frame to catch a glimpse of a band ripping off southern guitar riffs right in Brooklyn. The hour long set highlighted Tyler’s sensational vocals, perhaps no better evidenced than during his harmonies with the complimenting voice of Emotion (Mo) Brown, whose soulful voice raised the hair on our arms. While the two paired well in unison, it was the contrast of Brown’s vocal range to Tyler’s southern rock twang, that truly allowed the performance to shine.
The band tore through much of 2010’s major label debut “Pardon Me” taking pause to bask in the New York area spotlight, genuinely appreciative of the love received by the crowd on hand. For us, choosing highlights from the set proved to be futile because each song seemed more vigorous and fun than the one that preceded it. Songs like “Pardon Me” and “Young and Free” proved especially lively and watching the band rip through “Bring It on Home” into a fast-paced harmonica jam had us dancing around uncontrollably. By the time the band had finished playing their most well known single “Gypsy Woman,” a frequent spin on SiriusXM rock station Octane, the band had transformed us from casual listeners to a must see act, every time in town. And with tickets at just $5, it’s a shame that a similar transformation couldn’t have overtaken a larger crowd. In other words, they were quite frankly that good.
For more information on Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights (“JTNL”), check out jonathantylermusic.com. And make sure to check back with LocalBozo.com every day as we’ll be posting our pre-show interview with the band and highlights from the live show.
- Jay Rubin & Jane Van Arsdale