Tyler Bryant formed his band The Shakedown aged just 17, when he met Caleb Crosby in Nashville. The pair were soon joined by Graham Whitford and Noah Denney, and have been steadily building a fanbase since releasing their first album in 2013. They’ve performed with rock legends including AC/DC, Aerosmith and Guns ‘N’ Roses, and last night they brought their headline show to London venue Dingwalls.
The band came on shortly after 9 PM to huge cheers from the crowd, and kicked off with House On Fire from their debut album Wild Child. Right from the off it was clear this would be a high-energy show, with frontman Bryant in particular throwing himself into the performance. He encouraged the crowd to clap and sing along (not that they needed much help!) and showed off some impressive guitar-playing to boot as his fingers flew up and down the neck of the instrument.
That set the tone for the rest of the set, which brought classic rock and roll vibes and plenty of epic guitar solos. Highlights included Aftershock, which opened with a sparse, trembling intro before roaring into life, the atmospheric unreleased song Old Bones and Ramblin’ Bones, which showed off Bryant’s skill as a storyteller.
The group also threw in bluesy touches on songs like the slinky Downtown Tonight (which included a breakneck guitar solo from Bryant that left the crowd chanting the name of his guitar Pinky) and put their own spin on some classic covers. Got My Mojo Workin’ was transformed into a full-throttle rock number, whilst That’s All Right Mama combined stomping drums with one of many incredible guitar solos from Graham Whitford.
Throughout the show I was particularly struck by the group’s chemistry together. They frequently broke off to jam with one another and looked like they were having the time of their lives, with Bryant in particular grinning like the Cheshire Cat throughout. It’s always great to see a band who love performing together and it was clear that they and the audience were feeding off each other’s energy. One key example of that came on Lipstick Wonder Woman, which saw Bryant and drummer Caleb Crosby jump down into the audience to perform a high-octane riff that got the crowd fired up.
However, Bryant’s performance was an absolute standout. He had confidence and charisma by the bucketload and could frequently be seen spinning about the stage during the set. It’s clear that he’s an incredibly passionate performer, whether he was getting lost in slower songs such as the downbeat, anguished The Wayside and the intense Criminal Imagination or speaking to the crowd about the power of music. I was also really impressed with his vocals, which had a gravelly edge that came to the fore on songs such as Heartland and Don’t Mind The Blood. He was an utterly mesmerising frontman and I found I couldn’t take my eyes off him.
The band closed the show with Weak and Weepin’, which combined rattling drum rolls, switches in tempo and quick lyrical delivery. Bryant ended the song by leaping off Crosby’s drum kit and holding his guitar aloft in triumph, showing just how much he and the rest of the band had given to their performance. After demands from the crowd for an encore, the quartet returned to play a driving cover of Tom Petty’s You Wreck Me and The House That Jack Built. For me the latter song summed up the whole performance perfectly, with a bluesy groove and an edge of menace in Bryant’s voice before exploding into a frenetic finale with some seriously impressive guitar shredding from Whitford.
When I spoke to Bryant recently he promised ‘a full-on, high-energy show’, and that’s exactly what the crowd at Dingwalls last night got. It was no-holds-barred rock and roll that grabbed the audience from the off and didn’t let go for an hour and a half. Bryant and his band are incredibly skilled performers who know how to work an audience and brought plenty of fire to a sweltering summer night. It’s one of the best shows I’ve seen so far this year and I can’t wait to see them again.
Set list: 1. House On Fire 2. Criminal Imagination 3. Don’t Mind The Blood 4. Downtown Tonight 5. Easy Target 6. Old Bones 7. Got My Mojo Workin’ 8. Aftershock 9. Heartland 10. That’s All Right Mama 11. Ramblin’ Bones 12. Lipstick Wonder Woman 13. The Wayside 14. Weak And Weepin’ 15. You Wreck Me 16. The House That Jack Built Performance date: 26th June 2018