This past Wednesday at the 9:30 Club, something happened that may not transpire again until the next time Typhoon comes back through town: from a vantage point above the main floor, no phone screens seemed to glow during the performance. That's right. Here in DC, founder and capital of smart phone over-checking, no one had much interest in looking at their texts or tweets, no one seemed to have a desperate need for a perfect selfie, band video or location check in throughout the performance. The sold out crowd included a packed, mixture of hipsters, prepsters, and many other music fans who had a desire to get along and return the warm embrace of Typhoon's gorgeous sounds.
A dozen band members played the infectious rock fueled by horns, multiple drum sets, guitars, keyboards, violins, and perhaps a couple of other instruments. The tight knit band members wandered around the club anonymously before they played to an excited crowd and half of the club realized they had been standing next to a band member during the two opening band sets.
This was my third time seeing Typhoon, and my first time seeing them after knowing that front man Kyle Morton's writing comes from being more close to death than he may have liked. Typhoon fan and NPR Music guru Bon Boilen in a 2013 NPR Music piece with Robin Hilton, said that "When he was young, Morton contracted a serious case of Lyme disease; he suffered multiple organ failures and required a kidney transplant from his father. Basically, his childhood was taken from him."
In one of my favorite Typhoon songs that they played Wednesday, Common Sentiments, from their 2013 album White Lighter, Morton sings "...when am I gonna feel better?, I have a been a patient for a long time now..." but before knowing Morton's story thought he said "I've been impatient for a long time now." Knowing the correct lyric, I can say that Typhoon always makes the audience feel better, and hope Morton's no longer required to be a patient until he's much older. While much of Typhoon's music talks about mortality, the big, upbeat sounds and joyful singing provide the perfect contrast to the mopey rock we might expect to hear with such lyrics.
Though Typhoon's set seemed a bit short at a little longer than an hour, any set by this great band, who continues to grow in popularity, would have been too short. The openers, two female fronted rock bands with hints of folk, Wild Ones, and Lady Lamb the Beekeeper also pleased the crowd, Wild Ones, with near-perfect vocals, and Lady Lamb with impressive guitar chops.
Lady Lamb the Beekeeper