The legend of Taz continues to grow, even as I write this. As it grows, so does his music ability and prowess. Taz is the Chosen One; chosen by the patriarchy of Jam. Chosen by Zambi himself. I have rarely cried from musical experiences but Taz has brought me to tears. Not just because the future of this music is in his hands, its because he can truly play with passion and palpable intensity like none I’ve seen, especially at such a young age. Embodying a much older demeanor and onstage command, Taz has already proven worthy of the title, Chosen One.
Having seen Brandon “Taz” Niederauer numerous times now; sitting in with bands like: The Marcus King Band, Widespread Panic, Spafford, The String Cheese Incident and well…just about every band in the scene, I was completely mind-blown seeing him live in Roanoke, Virginia with his own band. This band featured great musicianship including, Matt Godfrey, whom I met on Jam Cruise this past January and we enjoyed a few shows together. Matt is not only an astounding guitarist but he is also a guitar teacher and the man behind many of the young guitarist out there today. I didn’t know what to expect from this band but they truly bring an amazingly profound experience to the stage; something that seems rare nowadays. Shredding their way through originals and covers alike, I haven’t been this impressed with a band since seeing, The Marcus King Band for the first time, two years ago. While I keep comparing this band to MKB, they sound nothing alike, except for having a phenomenal guitarist at center stage. Taz and Friends are original, highly talented and that’s only the beginning.
Five Points Music Sanctuary was packed to the brim with patrons for this show. I have been quite lucky to see so many amazing shows here in Roanoke, Virginia. Every time I return, I see a show that tops the next but this may be the best I have ever witnessed in the Sanctuary. History was surely made that night. Many teenage girls littered the front row, all waiting, for Taz who is a complete Rock Star at this point. A 16-year-old with a huge blond Afro led the opening band; Taz would jam with him onstage for the Neil Young classic, “Cortez The Killer” which went on for a little too long. It seemed as though, Taz was holding back a little before his performance. While the local show proved fun, I was still anticipating what Taz would do with his own material.
When the band took the stage, there was an immediate change in energy level and overall excitement in the Sanctuary. This band takes things to another level and I was extremely impressed with Taz’s vocals and original songs. Having never heard Taz sing, in person, this was most surprising; his voice is both soulful and clean. The songs themselves sound mature and focused. I had just listened to Taz’s episode of Andy Frasco’s World Saving Podcast and learned so much about him. For his age, then 15, now 16, Taz is beyond his years, not only as a guitarist but also as a person. It was great to hang with the band after the show and learn more about them as players and people. Taz and Friends, would cover: The Meters, “People Say”, The Grateful Dead’s “West LA Fade Away”, Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire.” And at times, Taz would remind me of Prince. Many of his own songs were reminiscent of that sound, ie: R&B with a lot of soul. Taz is a musical phenom and all around powerhouse not only a guitar but vocally. This seal of approval comes with 5 stars and must see to believe label.
I don’t have anything negative to write about this experience at all. I honestly can’t believe that Taz isn’t selling out bigger venues or at least, headlining his own tour of shows. But then I remember that Taz is only 16 and is still in public school. The future for Taz is unstoppable but not yet defined. I could see Taz gearing more towards Popular music, possibly going for that platinum record which is easily attainable for him. As it stands today, Taz could be included or play in any number of studio sessions with Pop Stars, Hip-Hop Artist and a slew of other acts. Taz would no doubt blow the world away. Or perhaps he could take the true musicians road, practicing his chops, playing and writing all day, everyday. Earning fans one show at a time. Learning Jazz, cutting his teeth nightly, as he seems to do now. The future is in his hands and Taz seems to have some inspiring influences that surround him. I have great faith and belief in the music that pours out of Taz. I wish unsurpassed success for this young man for the rest of his days. May the Jam gods continue to bless you! Five Points Music Sanctuary and Tyler Godsey, also seem to understand the importance of getting these, up and coming bands, before they blow up. This is one of many reasons I continued to see concerts at this venue and work with them as much, as I can. It was quite a treat to see this show here because I know Taz and friends, will be headlining festivals and even, Jam Cruise, in no time. I was more impressed than I ever thought I’d be. Here’s to many more shows with Taz and friends!
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