Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown at Reggies Music Joint in Chicago, IL

It was a jam-packed night of rock and roll as Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown came to Chicago with support from 20 Watt Tombstone and Lyon$. 

It was a chilly Chicago night outside, but inside things were just beginning to warm up. The Black Oil Brothers were initially slated to be opening the show, but due to half of the band being hit with flu, Lyon$ stepped in to fill the spot. The opening spot is not an easy one to have, but Lyon$ more than stepped up to the plate and instantly had a rapport with the audience. 

Originally from Mississippi, Lyon$ now calls Chicago home. Delivering their own brand of cosmic country, Trey Lyons took the time to give some background in respect of his lyrics and added in some amusing anecdotes before the band launched into each track. It was an unexpected treat to get to catch this band, they were incredibly tight as a unit, delivering songs with thoughtful lyrics, embellished with some great playing from Mike Hicks. Trey mentioned that they had just spent time recording at the famous FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, so new music should be on the way soon. Be sure to keep an ear out!

Two-piece 20 Watt Tombstone was up next. The duo from Wisconsin consists of drummer Mitch Ostrowski and guitarist/vocalist Tom Jordan. They produced a massive sound that, frankly, a band made up of just two musicians has no business making! Mitch’s drum-kit was right up front throughout the set alongside Tom who was providing the raspy vocals and massive dirty slide guitar tones. Whilst the band do produce a big sound, their sound and the songs are really well crafted and they had many in the room banging their heads and shouting their appreciation throughout the set. They will have undoubtedly picked up new supporters following this performance. If you do get to see these guys perform, be sure to buy some of their merch while you are there. Mitch has a new baby and, apparently, those things are expensive!

It takes a special band to have people stay right through to the end on a cold night, but by the time Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown took to the stage at almost 11 PM, it felt as though the night was just beginning. From the moment they stepped onto the stage, it was like a whirlwind as they kicked their set off with “Drive Me Mad.” There are certain bands that just bleed rock and roll and from the first note, you are left in absolutely no doubt that this is one of those bands.   

This current tour is in support of Shake The Roots which was released back in September on their newly established own label, Rattle Shake Records. There has been a good deal of well-deserved praise for the newest release and seeing how the fans reacted shows just how well it’s been received. The set included “Ain’t None Watered Down,” “Bare Bones,” “Midnight Oil,” “Shackles,” and “Tennessee” from the album. When you see a band perform new songs, the audience will typically be quieter during the less known material. This was definitely not the case here as the audience cheered loudly and sang along to newly released songs. This is not a band happy to rest on its laurels and they have certainly put their lockdown time to good use by releasing the fantastic Pressure followed by Shake The Roots and forming their own record label in between.

Having seen Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown multiple times over the years, it’s great to see the band grow and embrace their own blend of blues rock. On the night, they could be blowing the roof off the place one moment before slowing things down with some more traditional blues tracks. The setlist kept things really interesting and showed off the band’s talents to their fullest. Besides the obviously skilled musicianship on stage, which is beyond impressive, it’s always such a pleasure to see a band looking like they’re having the time of their lives on stage. Once they are in front of an audience, it appears like there is nowhere else in the world they want to be. You simply can’t fake that kind of energy and it transfers to every person in the room.  

Caleb Crosby, of course, could barely keep himself behind the drum kit and even climbed up to play on the HVAC system at one point. He and hometown boy Ryan Fitzgerald, who has become a regular fixture, are locked in as a rhythm section with Ryan also providing some quality rock faces. No matter the size of the stage, Caleb and Tyler are often seen jumping into the crowd with their instruments to get up close and personal with the fans, and this show was no exception. Tyler mentioned during his interview with us that there was an instant chemistry between him and Graham Whitford when they first met and it is a real treat to watch them trading licks and playing off each other throughout the night. There was even a special guest appearance by YouTube star, motivational speaker, and kick-ass guitarist Peter Dankelson which got the audience revved up even further.

The next batch of tour dates is in January, but make sure you keep an eye on their website as they announce more. This is a band that exceeds expectations every time we see them. You are guaranteed to leave with a smile as big as those on the faces of the band (and that’s saying something). So make the winter blues a distant memory and go buy those tickets today. 

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About Kirstine Walton 383 Articles
Kirstine moved from the UK to Chicago in 2011, and has fallen in love with the city and its music scene. She enjoys combining her two biggest passions – music and photography. If there is a band with a guitar playing, chances are she’ll be there…camera in hand. Kirstine went to her first live concert at 7 years old, and hasn’t looked back since!