LIONS ON THE MOON PREPARE TO FILL BIG SHOES
By Barry Brandow
Every year at Mountain Jam there are a few sets that stand out and become the most memorable moments of the summer. Last year’s Mountain Jam was no exception. Everyone there would agree that Gov’t Mule’s set that featured “Dark Side of the Mule” and Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters may be two of the best sets in the festivals eleven year history. Another set that stood out for me as a memorable and inspirational performance was the one on the small indoor stage by the band Lions on the Moon. I was completely blown away by their talent and professionalism regardless of their age.
If you’re not familiar with the band Lions on the Moon please allow me to familiarize you with this amazing quartet of young musicians.
They were first formed in the summer of 2014 when Col. Bruce Hampton, who has mentored many young talented musicians to great success, had the idea of matching 14 year old singer/songwriter Nick Winegardner and 13 year old guitar prodigy Brandon “Taz” Niederauer. With immediate chemistry, it was a no brainer to add a few more pieces of the puzzle and introduce Brandon’s talented bass-playing 15-year-old brother Dylan, and 16-year-old drum sensation Henry Thomas. They quickly gelled and started rehearsing covers while writing original music of their own. They even released their first self- titled album with great success and have been leaving crowds awe-struck every time they perform.
As with many bands, they also experienced unforeseen circumstances forcing them to make a huge change in the bands line-up. With the enormous success of “School of Rock” on Broadway starring Lions centerpiece Brandon Niederauer, the young guitarist had to leave the band on hiatus to honor his commitment with the theatre production.
*Video by Joe Schlee
With BIG shoes to fill LOTM turned to friend, and no stranger to the big stage, 16 year-old-guitarist Bobby Paltauf Jr. Bobby, who is a guitar phenom himself, had been touring with his own self named band The Bobby Paltauf Band and “wowing” crowds everywhere they played. It was a perfect fit as Bobby’s musical roots and blues/classic rock influences are very similar to those of Lions on the Moon. Having seen Bobby perform with his band and sit in with many accomplished musicians I’m very confident he’ll step in and play at the high level he is accustom too while filling the shoes of his fellow guitarists. Fans of Lions, and fans of Taz’s will be pleasantly surprised and impressed with everything Paltauf has to offer.
One of the first stages they’ll get to showcase their talents on will be at the Greenwich Town Party taking place on May 28th. There will be no shortage of role models performing during the event. With a lineup that includes the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Hall and Oates, and Credence Clearwater Revival’s John Fogerty, the young band will witness firsthand what level is expected from successful veterans of music. If their performance wasn’t going to be special enough, the young band will be joined on stage by their mentor himself, Col. Bruce Hampton lending his vocal extraordinaire. It’s likely to be a treat for both eyes and ears. Once the band get into their groove it will be certain to everyone that they are not young musicians pretending to be rock stars, but rock stars in the bodies of very talented young musicians that will only get better as time goes on. When the novelty of their age wears off it will be certain that these guys are true artists and passionate about the music they perform. It’ll also be certain that the future of rock and roll is in very good hands.
I highly recommend going to a Lions on the Moon show and seeing everything this band has to offer while supporting the extraordinary youth movement in music today.
For tour dates and band info go to lionsonthemoon.com.