A new “off-season” feature to this blog will be more music-centric and will feature album reviews, concert reviews, and other music-focused subjects.
The inaugural “Have You Heard?” will feature a person who is kind of related to my ballhawking adventures of 2014. You may remember that Rolling Stone article about the Home Run Derby and ballhawking; the writer being Jeff Allen. Well, that Jeff guy is the namesake for TYTE JEFF… and the songwriter, lyricist, singer, guitarist, and nearly everything-else-ist.
More poignant words could not be used:
“You gotta admit the band’s pretty tight.”
-Craig Finn via The Hold Steady’s Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night
I’m pretty confident that Craig Finn was able to channel his inner-Doctor Who and transcend space and time by writing those lyrics, even if it was a bit “(sic)”, about former child-prodigy-turned-legit-front-man Jeff Allen, aka “his Royal Tyte-ness.”
The setting: The Nomad Pub in Minneapolis – Cedar Ave to be exact.
The scene: A snowy Sunday night, a few dozen pub patrons (half of which are probably in one of the three bands playing that night), a Giants/Cowboys football game on TV, and a band who openly proclaimed that they were “getting their sea legs.”
Sure, the lineup behind His Tyte-ness had changed, but for the common folk, you would not have been able to tell. A rocking set by What Tyrants – who combined a Wolfmother-like throwback rock sound with a grungy Nirvana-esque twist – was followed by a fresh set of eight songs by Mr. Allen & Co.
EIGHT SONGS?! That’s like 33% more than a six-pack… all for the low, low price of FREE!
(Dear reader, choose your own six pack; mine is tacos, and I couldn’t imagine how much more happy I would be with eight tacos…)
With a near-perfect 6 track EP as the only part of the Tyte Jeff (soon to be booming) discography, this show proved to be half history lesson and half a nod to the future, and not just because 4 songs were from the EP and 4 were new cuts from the soon-to-be-recorded debut LP. Jeff Allen – yes, one quarter of the beloved Hopkins crew The Plastic Constellations – skillfully combines lyrics that reflect on events from the past and projects them on the current and future generations. Just take a look at the lyrics for the EP and tell me they don’t resonate with any 30-something.
Getting back to the show itself, I must say that it had a feeling of something both special and mundane. To the untrained eye/ear, it was just another local gig with a few small rock bands in a tiny bar: mundane, right? But to a 30-something who is fighting with the idea of getting older and settling into the things never dreamed about as a child, this was like communion. The show was special to me, the music pleased my ears, the message was heartfelt and relatable, and the band was incredibly nice.
Maybe it’s just my mind playing tricks on me, my brain dreaming up a wild fantasy, but I am thinking that the night of November 23, 2014 at the Nomad, that was the night I saw Tyte Jeff before they blew up. The perfect ingredients are there, let’s just hope for their sake that my tastes are similar to a greater audience.
Here’s your chance to relive the magic that night:
Give them a listen and tell me what you thought. Have a favorite new song?
Also, if you have a band or album that you think I’d enjoy and would like to hear my opinion, let me know!