A couple of years ago I started following Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, a young guitar prodigy that reminded me of Jimi Hendrix or Gary Clark Jr. I was shocked when I saw a local event posted with his name on it. I checked my instagram and double checked the event to make sure it was who I thought it was. I took my kids up to The Ridge Amphitheater to watch the teen star, who happens to be the same age as my daughter. Since then I have been fortunate enough to attend two more of his shows, both at Funk ‘n Waffles. He starred in the musical, School of Rock, on Broadway. He had a role in Spike Lee’s Netflix Series She’s Gotta Have It. By 15 he had played some pretty big stages with even bigger names: Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Gregg Allman, Lady Gaga, Stevie Nicks and more.
Friday night around 220 people walked through the door to see the 16 year old play. Local rockers, Bad Mama’s Blues Band set the tone with Jeff Swidowski’s incredible guitar skills and gravelly voice coupled with Emily Pastuf’s Janis Joplin-like energy. I had been telling Bad Mama’s drummer, Rob Zaccaria, about Taz so it was perfect when we found out not only would he see him but open the show. It was pretty amazing how packed the room was. The level of excitement to be able to see this impressive rising star in a small room was evident. The crowd was full of music lovers that always make it out for the “good shows,” as one told me. I could see the growth in the band’s chemistry and more strength in his voice since last year. It was another solid show. Keep this kid on your radar. Who knows how many more chances we will have to see him in such an intimate setting.