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  • Live Review: Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights — The Viper Room, West Hollywood

    Fri, 02 Apr 2010 08:12:06

    Live Review: Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights — The Viper Room, West Hollywood - Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights resurrect rock music on stage at the Viper Room and ARTISTdirect.com editor and <i>Dolor</i> author Rick Florino chronicles each moment.

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    You'll have to pardon Jonathan Tyler and The Northern Lights because they're going to change rock 'n' roll.

    Now, there hasn't been a revolutionary young band in God knows how long, but the Texas rock outfit is armed to the teeth with infectious bluesy anthems that can get fists pumping and asses shaking all at the same time. That's a lost art….

    The Viper Room felt like an arena last night when JTNL hit the stage. An ominous bass thump bled right into smoky guitar melodies, adding an epic degree of pomp to the band's intro. Quickly, the riff on "Pardon Me", the title track of JTNL's F-Stop/Atlantic debut (4/27/10), snapped and cracked cleanly. Peaking through long brown hair under a fedora, frontman Jonathan Tyler smiled charismatically as he screamed, "Maybe it's been too long since rock and roll turned you on!"

    Well that changed as the band churned out one flawless groove after another, mixing classy funk with unbridled rock energy. Guitarist Brandon Pinckard ripped relentlessly alongside JT as bassist Nick Jay kept the grooves coming. A big dose of R&B soul came from Mo whose harmonies hypnotized in sync with JT's guitar, while drummer Jordan Cain bashed out big beats like his life depended on it. Given that sincere soul within a fresh face, JTNL are like Lynyrd Skynyrd meets Sly and the Family Stone for the FaceBook generation or, even more simply, Kings of Leon with balls. Rock ecstasy and excess cascaded classically on the soaring "Gypsy Woman," as Jonathan's voice reached insurmountable heights while he shredded a solo without missing a note.

    "Young & Free" resounded with an incredible falsetto courtesy of JT and a bluesy swamp stomp mixed with epic arena rock bombast. Then there was "The Devil's Basement." It built on a slow, almost ethereal opening before exploding into pure rock fireworks. JT's mission of turning the crowd on had been accomplished tenfold at that point, as all eyes were glued to him and his bandmates.

    JT's charisma manifests magnetically as he smiles at the crowd in between each massive riff and melody. He's a frontman that belongs on the stage of Woodstock between The Who and Hendrix, but the Viper Room served its purpose for him last night. That legendary rock boundlessness truly came across on a transformative rendition of "Crosstown Traffic" with its jazzy jam mid song. Then show closer "Hot Sake" bubbled over for one last intoxicating rock hurrah.

    This is just what the world needs right now—real rock 'n' roll. Get ready for revolution. Get ready for Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights.

    —Rick Florino

    Check out Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights' "Pardon Me" here!

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