Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown rolled through Belfast last night like a freight train. They took no prisoners as they rocked and rolled their way through a 90-minute set that simply blew the Belfast audience off their feet. Talking with the guys prior to the gig, they reinforced their work ethic on and off stage, and I was keen to see this in practice. Belfast was hosting no less than four big gigs on the night, Belsonic, a yearly festival, kicked off across the city with Arcade Fire, The Stone Roses were playing the SSE Arena and Devin Townsend playing in the Limelight, but Voodoo Belfast was the place to be with a gem of a gig, as an unassuming quartet from Nashville, Tennessee, took to the stage.
TBSD were due to play Ireland at the end of last year as they supported The Cadillac Three around the UK, but due to scheduling clashes the Irish gigs were pulled. Tonight would right that wrong and a hungry enthusiastic crowd awaited. The Jailbirds kicked off proceedings with a high energy set perfect to warm up any crowd, an Irish-Australian affair with vocalist and lead guitarist Axel McDonald and brother Jay McDonald on drums, both ex OZ patriots, while Ed Orr Jamie Trimble held up the Irish contingent on guitar and bass. The guys launched themselves into their set with gusto and blasted their way through their slot like a band possessed. Axel even took to the floor, weaving his way through the crowd during his solo on their cover of AC/DC ‘Let There Be Rock.’ This powerful and enthusiastic band of brothers left no one underwhelmed.
But tonight was about one thing, the arrival of one of the hottest properties in Rock right now, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown. Having supported the likes of Guns ‘N’ Roses, Aerosmith, and AC/DC, there was no doubting the quality of musicianship ahead of us. The crowd pushed towards the stage as the boys kicked off with ‘Weak & Weepin’ announcing their arrival in style. Tyler was a blur, moving across the stage like a kid who’d been locked up all day finally getting let off his reins. Immediately the crowd knew they were in for something special tonight. The high intensity performance grabs the attention of all in the room, and the guys simply do not let go for the remainder of their set. ‘Criminal Imagination’ and ‘House on Fire’ followed to rapturous applause. By the time Tyler stopped to talk to the crowd he was already dripping in sweat.
Within no time at all, Tyler is down front mid solo rockin’ out with his adoring crowd, and they are loving it! Up close and personal is what TBSD are all about, no barriers, no pretention, just raw power and passion in abundance. It overflows across the room like a wave and everyone just gives into it, rocking with this powerhouse quartet from Nashville like one big family. One of the night’s highlights was the performance of ‘Ramblin Bones’ and ‘Lipstick Wonder’ when Caleb on drums joins Tyler up front on acoustic guitar. Not just upfront but IN the middle of the crowd, Caleb knocking unassuming fans out of his way, and he carries his drum to the floor and beats on it like a demon. I watch Tyler ripping up a solo as Caleb wraps his arm around a young girl whilst beating his drum as she squeals with delight. It’s what memories are made of, and few will forget this inaugural performance of TBTS. The band as a whole just delivered on all levels. From Graham on guitar to Noah on bass it was as promised, crazy beautiful. The boys will be back in the UK soon, with a new album out around the last quarter of the year, so brace yourself for one of the best kept secrets in the business today, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown. Come one, come all, you will not be disappointed.
Review & Photography by Mark McGrogan