Von Stomper (at Cranknstein) and Tyler T (at Equinox)

I think I vaguely had noted that Tyler’s birthday was coming up, and also that he was playing a few shows this month in town, but I figured out it was his birthday only because facebook told me it was (as I am sure many of my friends discovered the existence of my own birthday a bit over a month ago). The fact that he was playing a show on his birthday did not register till noonish that same day when he posted about his show on facebook (though I dreamed the night before about seeing his solo show as well as Von Stomper, so I must have known about it at some point earlier). Anyway, as a result, my evening music plans Saturday expanded accordingly to include Tyler T at 6pm as well as Von Stomper at 9pm, essentially a solid night of live music from 6pm-1am, which even with breaks and soundchecks meant roughly 6 hours of absolutely fantastic music. I don’t remember many evenings so far this year that could compete with this lineup. 
Von Stomper, as I mentioned earlier on this blog, is Wolf Van Elfmand and Luke Callen, the fellows who run the Black Mountain Ramble show at Wild Boar every month, plus three of the excellent musicians from Free Range Pickins, Mark “Rooster” Austin on banjo and harmonicas, Dane Mark on drums and Taylor Shuck on upright bass. Wolf plays electric guitar, and Luke plays acoustic guitar, occasionally picking up a harmonica as well. Quite unexpectedly, Wolf, Luke, Mark and Taylor harmonize very well with each other, which helps with the whole Beatles comparison, I suppose, and which lends an extra bit of interest to their sound that few bands achieve to that degree. Wolf sang himself ragged by the end of the show, so their last few songs were not quite so impressively rendered, but by midnight I doubt anyone was very worried about vocal harmonies anyway. I’d love to hear what these guys come up with if they stick together long enough to make a studio album.
These guys have a sound which still reminds me of the Beatles, but what the Beatles would have sounded like had they grown up in the Colorado Front Range music scene in the past few decades. Their music is easily danceable, and I’d love to see what some of the dance enthusiast folks I’ve met in town would do with Von Stomper’s music and a good dance floor. This band is these lads’ new baby, and I love how proud they all seem of their band- they know they have a good thing going and seem to be enjoying playing together. So early on it is hard to predict what might happen, but I could see Von Stomper making it big. Those danceable original songs they played last night have huge commercial potential. Cranknstein, where Von Stomper played their debut full show (they played a much shorter set at Wild Boar last week), was pretty nearly packed during this show, and had the venue been bigger, I suspect it might have been just as full. I still had room to maneuver near the band to take photos, so maybe the room was not at capacity yet, but for a first show, it was a fantastic turn-out.
Tyler T at Equinox, the show I had not know I planned to see until a few hours ahead of time, gave me a great opportunity to get some more good photos of both Tyler and his marimba-player Jon Sadler, from the new band Tyler T and the Common Clay. Of course, no one camps out a few feet from the musicians for a whole 2hr show for just a few pictures, but this is one local musician whose shows I’ll still look forward seeing & hearing long after I have all the photos I could possibly wish for. Tyler is the fellow I’ve mentioned before who plays the equivalent of a 5-piece band, as his solo show. I love watching him play his shows, because he always looks like he’s having so much fun. 
Every show, Tyler becomes the master magician, creating seemingly impossible arrays of sound out of a manageably small number of instruments and pedals (he even has time occasionally to sip his beer mid song, once he gets all his layers assembled for a particular musical passage).  I’d imagine he’s a fun musician to play with, too, and Jon certainly looked like he was enjoying adding his instrument into the mix. 
What I especially like about Tyler’s music, though, solo or with the Common Clay, is that most of his songs are not just instrumentals. I’ve come across musicians before who get into exploring all the tricks of electronic music, and back when I was in college for my first degree electronica was a very popular music genre among my friends. I even still have a few of those old trance/electronica albums, mostly gifts from friends who lived and breathed the stuff, but I like lyrics, a lot. Even if I don’t always remember the words for long, lyrics give me a nice guide-rail by which to follow the rest of the song, and Tyler’s songs pretty much always have great lyrics.
I’d not survive very long as a music blogger if every night was like last night- I’d starve from forgetting to make time for dinner every night, and burn out from spending so much time immersed in the music of my favorite artists, like a well-supplied drug addict stuck on all the richest, most potent stuff. The temptation is there, though, and one of these days maybe I can stuff one of these talented lads in my book-bag and take him home so I won’t have to go so long without my favorite musician’s creations.

In the meantime, if you are in or near Fort Collins, keep your eye out for the next Von Stomper and Tyler T shows. Check them out on facebook, and if you want to hear Tyler T and are not able to catch him live in the near future, he has an album, A World to Wander. Many of my favorite Tyler T songs are not on this album, and will hopefully turn up on a new album in the relatively near future, either a solo album or the first Tyler T and the Common Clay album.

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About Ravenmount

Independent science nerd/writer/music blogger/arts enthusiast/theorist currently in Colorado.
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