Concert Review: Typhoon at Paradise Rock Club

by Suzanne Hanna

“When am I gonna feel better? I have been patient for a long time now.” Kyle Morton, lead vocalist and songwriter for Alternative Rock band Typhoon, chants these lyrics to the crowd, sharing the weight of his frustration that fans willingly catch and hold on to like beach balls tossed into the audience. His breaths are heavy but the voice that bursts through them is lighter than oxygen, and the sea of loyal fans follow his lead.

On January 25th, Typhoon filled Paradise Rock Club with sounds and spirits as they played a sonically-charged set that featured their hit songs as well as new singles from their latest album, Offerings, which was released in mid-January. The record is a haunting tribute to the moments before passing, and it continues to nurture the growth of the overlying theme in all of Typhoon’s music. This theme is one that treasures perspective and memory, with an origin residing in Morton’s childhood during which he survived Lyme disease.

The venue itself offers an opportunity for intimacy between artist and listener. While the stage and crowd are still separated by a barrier, yearning hands reach over and wave with the upbeat revival of “Young Fathers” from their five-year-old record, White Lighter, simulating an early Rolling Stones concert. Also recognizable is the thoughtful and genuine collaboration between the seven band members that performed. Paradise Rock Club provides a chance for the musicians to interact with each other in a way that never feels congested and overwhelming and effectively preserves a space for connection and inspiration between the musicians, among them a violinist and two drummers.

With exciting moments of sampled sounds and vocal filters, Typhoon successfully merges the freedom of live performance with the regulations of studio recording. Nothing ever veers too out of focus nor feels like pressing play on Spotify. Morton knows when to lead the audience in song with repeating the lyrics “How you gonna hold on?” from their fresh single “Rorschach,” and when to return to the band’s careful cultivation of detailed and complex orchestration. Taking advantage of their ability to fill a room with sound, Typhoon brings smooth contrast to the venue’s atmosphere with vulnerable moments of acoustic reflection in their popular song “Prosthetic Love,” to the omnipresent first single off the new record, “Darker.”

Also undeniable is Typhoon’s close relationship with their audience, who can sing along to recently created songs like “Empiricist” as well as early songs, like “Summer Home” from their first E.P., and “CPR/ Claws Pt. 2,” a song from their first record, Hunger and Thirst. With “Summer Home,” Typhoon controls the emotion of everyone in the room, taking the time to slow down the set with the crushing and reminiscent song, “The Lake.” Even standing at the back, it was clear that a view of the front row would reveal the empathetic tears of Typhoon’s avid and attentive auditors.

The most curious part of Typhoon’s new record that they so gently promote, is the repeated phrase in most of the songs, one that sounds strongly in “Empiricist,” the words “asa nisi masa.” It is a seemingly nonsense phrase that, once broken down, traces back to the Italian word for “soul.” In fact, “Empiricist” features an early recording of a child, presumably Morton, speaking those words, and other samples of the phrase were even included in the performances of songs that came from earlier records. As a result, it creates an unexpected cohesiveness throughout the show. “Asa nisi masa” invites nostalgia to sit in on the show while the band draws closer to the end of their set.

Closing in a signature fashion with outro songs from White Lighter, “Common Sentiments” and “Post Script,” it is time for the audience to sing with Morton: “when am I gonna feel better?” It is rare that a band can so eloquently perform a show that balances intense instrumentation and meaningful lyrics without getting sucked into the excitement of the performance and forgetting to unite with the crowd. Typhoon achieves this and more: they share the lyrics of each song as if they were gifts to give to the crowds, or free merchandise to take at the table next to the coat check before leaving. They treat every sound with a sense of importance and share the mass of their story and music amongst each band member. They are a generous band, beautifully balanced by an equally generous audience. These are listeners that never feel the burden of deeply-rooted, evocative words as an inconvenience. These are listeners that will hold onto their beach balls and see to it that each fan has a chance to hold one for themselves and sink into the stories that Typhoon creates and shares with them.