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Concert Review: Jonathan Tyler at The Live Oak

Jonathan Tyler and The Northern Lights Feb. 15 Live Oak Music Hall 1311 Lipscomb St., Fort Worth 817-926-0968 theliveoak.com

Posted 11:36am on Monday, Feb. 18, 2013

Last week, at the Toadies announcement show, one of the high sheriffs of DFW.com approached me and suggested that I be at the Live Oak the following Friday for the Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights show. I was aware of the show already and with Tyler headlining and the Hanna Barbarians as an opener, well, how’s a boy to resist that?

The Live Oak is still going strong, and the whole end of Magnolia finally seems to be lighting up. The Brewed coffee house was open, and there was an inviting fire pit blazing away out back. Ryan’s Fine Grocer and Delicatessen is finished, and both of these things have added two more reasons to my I-wish-I-still-lived-in-Fairmont list.

I headed across the parking lot to The Live Oak. Inside, I found the party going full force, with the Barbies doing that thing they do so well and the Hanna Barbarian faithful crowded from the door to the stage. The Live Oak sounds good empty, and even better with a packed house. Jeff Dazey was blowing sax with the band, which consists of Blake Parish (vocals, harmonica), Alex Zobel (guitar, vocals), Raef Payne (guitar, vocals), Brady Hamilton (drums), Kris Luther (guitar) and the mighty Chris Evans on bass. If you can’t have a good time at a Hanna Barbarians show, you need medication. The E-meter is not working for you.

Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights were up next, and in case you have never been to one of his shows, this is a straight-up, high-octane rock and roll throwdown. You can hear a touch of The Black Crowes in there, and maybe some Little Feat. Or maybe it’s just the common thread of blues-based rock. No matter, this is some tasty stuff and the body density in the room did not decline.

The Northern Lights consists of Jonathan Tyler (vocals, harmonica, guitar), Jordan Cain (drums), Kansas (guitar), Mo Brown (vocals, tambourine), and Chase McGillis (bass). They were originally a Dallas band, but they’ve been touring nationwide. It was good to have them back home.

The band did a solid set of their own stuff, and a few really exemplary cover tunes such as Bring It On Home by Willie Dixon, and Honky Tonk Women by the Stones. Tyler has the quintessential rock and roll voice, and the instrumentals were first rate. We even got a rock and roll encore, with Mo doing lead vocals on the first song. After playing a respectable encore, the crowd finally let them off stage, and started thinning out.

In the (relatively) short time it’s been open, The Live Oak has become one of my favorite places for live music. The sound is top notch, the atmosphere is nice but comfortable, and the acts they book are excellent nearly without exception. If they keep doing what they’re doing, they will endure as a fixture in the Funkytown music scene.

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