Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown/Jailbirds – Belfast, Voodoo – 13 June 2017 Print E-mail
Written by Mark Ashby and The Dark Queen   
Saturday, 17 June 2017 04:30

Rock ‘n’ roll is like everything else in life: the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. The old adage that “good things come to those who wait” is a lie: you have to get out there and hustle, grab things by the balls, get yourself in people’s faces and – above all, work, work, work your ass off.


Tyler Bryant And The Shakedown 3


And the latter is certainly an adage by which Nashville-based quartet Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown seem to live, as they never seem to stop, either on stage or off it. Not content with trundling around Europe supporting the likes of Aerosmith, Guns N Roses, Deep Purple, Tom Petty and the like, they have been filling in the gaps in their tour diary with their own headline shows in just about any venue outside which they can park their tour bus…and it’s not every day you see one of those massive double-deckers parked in the tiny Belfast side street that is home to one of the Über Rock team’s favourite venues.


To be brutally honest, things had not augured well from Bryant and crew’s first visit to this wee corner of the Überverse: poor advance ticket sells had forced the move to a smaller venue, and there was a lot of competition for the Belfast gig-going public’s cash, with Arcade Fire kicking off the first night of the annual Belsonic shebang, Devin Townsend widdling away in the larger of the two Limelight venues (TBST had originally been slotted to play the smaller club next door) and The Stone Roses playing a sold out SSE Arena… but, I’m happy to report there was a respectable gathering of knowledgeable rock ‘n’ roll intelligentsia to welcome TBTS for what hopefully the first of many visits to our little town…


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An early start to the show means the floor is still a little sparse when Dublin’s Jailbirds take to the stage – which frontman Axel McDonald immediately leaps off, running around the venue Joel O’Keeffe style (well, he is an Aussie) in a bid to cajole people away from the bar and to the front of the stage. He partially succeeds, but for a while the photographers out-number the predominantly female audience.


The quartet – completed by McDonald’s brother Jay on drums plus rhythm guitarist Ed Orr and bass player Jamie Trimble – play solid, traditional rock ‘n’ roll, with big riffs and equally big grooves, coupled with nice melodies and catchy choruses. Their short set is drawn from their debut ‘Break The Silence’ EP, with the highlights being the stomping ‘Bite The Bait’, the cheeky ‘Down The Line’ and the double slide whammy of the bloozy ‘Lucky Charm’.


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The only real criticism is that their otherwise competent and energetic cover of ‘Let There Be Rock’ is somewhat unnecessary, and it stutters just after the second verse, as if the band forget what song they’re actually playing, before Axel rescues things with an elongated solo which shows off what a damn fine blues-rock guitarist he is. I look forward to hearing more from this mob and will be keeping an eye on their progress…




Tyler Bryant And The Shakedown 1


The remarkably youthful looking (for a ten-year r’n’r veteran) Tyler Bryant straps on his guitar, raises his fist defiantly in the air, shouts “HELLO!” and it’s off we go on this sweat-soaked 85-minute rollercoaster ride…


Right from the off, the band’s southern roots are immediately obvious in the country-blues drawl which serves as the backdrop to their traditional rock ‘n’ roll groove, which has no airs, no pretensions and doesn’t pretend to anything more than it is… and that’s honest-to-goodness, straight ahead old-school r’n’r with the attitude of punk and an ingrained passion which is infectious in its transference to the audience.


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“We’re gonna set this house on fire,” declares the frontman, introducing the song of the same title… well, we may be only three songs in but the mercury is certainly rising up the thermometer and the sweat is not only soaking every T-shirt in the room but starting to drip from the black-painted walls, such is the energy and enthusiasm generated by this young beat combo (It’s either that or the fact that the extractor fans haven’t been turned on!).

Bryant - who visually reminds me of a young John McManus – then makes an impassioned speech about the importance of supporting live music, and in turn its own role in bringing people together in a world otherwise divided in so many different ways, before immediately starting another huge singalong… I told you this was a knowledgeable crowd: many people may have been asking me beforehand who the hell Tyler Bryant is, but nearly everyone in this room knew the words to his songs, and every foot in the place didn’t stop tapping for the duration of the set.


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By the time TB and his band – whom he introduces with his cheek very firmly in his affectional and respectful cheek, describing how he was introduced to guitarist Graham Whitford as “the man who could get me fired… so I hired him” – lay down some serious Muddy Waters mojo things are getting hotter and sweatier.. but we ain’t complaining, as the taste of these rock ‘n’ roll vibes is sweeter than the salty droplets dripping into our pints…


As if picking up on my thought pattern above, Bryant acknowledges that the band” are making our way around this part of the world, and no one knows who we are …“. He may be right at the moment but I have the feeling that, by the end of this run, a few thousand more genuine rock ‘n’ roll fans will have been shaken down by TBSD’s raucous and rowdy brand of good time blues rock. Bryant is a genuine talent, and has the work ethic to match: with a decade of grind under their belts, and the desire and ability to keep at it and do what it takes, I have a feeling the next ten years will see their star steadily rising in ascendancy… just remember who told y’all about them ;-)




PHOTO CREDIT: All photos © The Dark Queen/ Über Rock.


Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown support Guns N Roses at the Olympic Stadium tonight (Saturday) and then play Camden Assembly on Monday (19 June). They then return to the UK to support Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers at Hyde Park on Sunday 9 July and again to play the Blues Stage at the Ramblin’ Man Fair on Sunday 30 July.


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