Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tyler Hilton at The Wire in Upland

Last night marked the first date of the Tyler Hilton/Josiah Leming/Dion Roy tour, which kicked off in Upland, Ca at The Wire. Since they do not appear to have given the tour a nickname at this point we shall dub it the “Swoon Tour” because that was definitely the effect these men were having on the largely female crowd. In a very clever marketing tactic, the plan for this tour is to spend the afternoon on most show days basically recruiting an audience by visiting local high schools near the venues in each city. Judging by opening night it certainly seemed to work. The audience was “small but mighty” to quote Tyler Hilton, and composed largely of girls from the local high school. But, don’t think these guys are some kind of cheesy teen thing. These are serious musicians, with serious talent, that would appeal to music fans of all ages.

Dion Roy opened the show, doing the singer/songwriter thing alone with his guitar. While I unfortunately arrived late and only caught two songs, it definitely left me wanting to hear more.

Josiah Leming first came to public attention a few years back as an American Idol contestant back in 2007. While he didn’t get far with the show, what he did get was a record contract that has spawned a couple of EP’s and now a new full-length featuring his unique take on piano rock.  There is no denying that he’s got a stunning voice, a talent with the piano, and the bones of something that’s going to be really phenomenal with another year or two of development, which means this is a great time to catch him in tiny clubs so that you can say you knew him when. Josiah played a portion of his set alone with his piano and a portion with the able assistance of the quite talented backing band pulling double duty, backing up both Leming and Hilton.

Headliner Tyler Hilton stole the show, as he does with just about anything he does (watch old episodes of One Tree Hill for proof). With his imposing physical presence (tall and gorgeous), and a smile that could light up the darkest room, he had all the girls screaming before he even played a note. Like Jared Leto (Thirty Seconds to Mars), Tyler Hilton seems seamlessly move between the music and acting worlds, doing a quite credible job in both. He carefully went out of his way to interact with the throng of girls up front, successfully charming them into utter oblivion. Then, in a move that may get him nominated for nicest guy in music, he even invited a kid he had met earlier in the day at Upland High School named Sam, to come on stage and play bongos for one song. In between all of these niceties he and his band tore through a relatively short set of songs, largely culled from his EP’s as well as a John Waite cover that had been on a One Tree Hill album. Much of his music has an interesting combination of pop, country and rock turns that make him difficult to categorize but make him unique. With a pedigree that includes writing with members of Lady Antebellum, and uber producer Matt Serletic, if you haven’t jumped on the Tyler Hilton train yet, now would be the time. Check out Tyler’s Myspace for all of the tour dates. This tour wraps back around to end at The Roxy in West Hollywood on Nov. 17th so be sure to get your tickets.

Lastly we need to give major props to The Wire. This tiny venue (barely larger than your living room) is without a doubt one of the best places in the Inland Empire to see live music. They do a wonderful job of booking an eclectic mix of local and touring acts. On the local end they have Cromwell and Dose of Adolescence playing this Saturday. On the touring end, in a couple of weeks they have Carter Hulsey,  on Wednesday 10/27, so please be sure to come out and check out a show.

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