Caught in a typhoon

By Dick Mason, The Observer January 20, 2014 12:24 pm
Portland-based band gets students electrified about music, begins national tour in Cove

COVE — Brad Iturbide was on edge Thursday at Cove High School.

The Cove eighth-grader was not nervous about an upcoming test or school project, but he was jittery about the opportunity to see one of his all-time favorite bands in person.Typhoon, an indie rock group from Portland that is rapidly rising on the national music scene, appeared at Cove High School as part of an artist-in-residence program. 

“It was awesome. When I first got here, I was shaking. I’m a huge fan,” Iturbide said after seeing the band perform Thursday.

The eighth-grader had never seen Typhoon perform in person.

“It was way better than I expected. To hear them in person was just great,” the Cove student said.

Members of the band, which has booming sound, played for students, provided musical instruction and gave performances. Typhoon’s appearance in Cove was the first stop of its national White Lighter tour, which will take it to major cities across the United States.

Kyle Morton, the lead singer for Typhoon, spoke like his band’s appearance at Cove High School will prove to be one of the most enjoyable stops on its tour. Morton, who instructed elementary and high school students about singing, was struck by their innocence and curiosity.

He said he was impressed with the lack of cynicism and how excited they were about music in general. 

“Kids were blown away by an electric guitar,’’ said Morton, after spending an hour with Cove elementary students.

The students had spent class time studying the lyrics of their songs and other aspects of their music. Anticipation about Typhoon’s appearance had been building as a result.

“There was a real sense of momentum in their excitement,” said Eric Gustavson, a Cove middle school teacher who helped get Typhoon to come to Cove. 

Typhoon’s latest CD, “White Lighter,’’ is attracting national interest. Music from the CD, released in 2013, received a rave review from National Public Radio music writer and editor Stephen Thompson.

This is not the first time Typhoon has been on the national stage. In 2011, the band made an appearance on the “Late Show with David Letterman.” Morton was asked about what it was like appearing on Letterman. He said the set of the late night show is quite different than it appears on television. 

“It was way, way smaller than it looks. It is all part of TV magic,” Morton said.

Many of the songs performed by Typhoon were written by Morton. His lyrics often address mortality and, indirectly, the struggles the musician dealt with after contracting a serious case of Lyme disease from a tick bite when he was a child. 

“I try to write about illness in a way that it relates to other people,” Morton said.

Typhoon concluded its appearance at Cove by giving an afternoon concert with all students participating after receiving instruction from the band’s members. The concert likely left a lasting impression on Cove’s students.

“I saw a lot of inspired kids today. The kids were pretty fired up afterwards,” said Cove School District music teacher Ted McBride.

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