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9-year-old Latz keeps Summerfest young
At age 9, Tallan Noble Latz has plenty of time to keep getting better and better.
By Bobby Tanzilo
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More articles by Bobby Tanzilo
Published June 29, 2009 at 5:25 p.m.
Tags: tallan noble latz, elkhorn, summerfest
Summerfest is, despite the presence of musicians of all ages, a bastian of youth. At least it was on the Briggs stage on Monday, thanks to 9-year-old, Elkhorn guitar whiz Tallan Noble Latz, whose band performed Monday afternoon. I stopped by to see.
Latz is young, he's got the stage strut down and he could pass for a shrunken down version of just about any blues rocker at this year's Summerfest.
Opening with a Hendrix-style solo electric wail of a "Star Spangled Banner," Latz from the start swaggered with confidence.
This in contrast to his low-key support staff of drummer, bassist and keyboard player -- on their own they would look like a pretty young band, but seem weathered vets next to their leader -- who perhaps keenly remember whose name is on the marquee.
Wearing black shades and a black shirt engulfed in flames, Latz performed in front of a pretty impressive crowd of about 500 who whooped and hollered after each tune.
Not bad for a Monday afternoon, especially considering by the time he cracked into his second tune, the sky turned black, rain drops fell and the winds blew.
Latz is a real showman, with all of the blues rock poses, facial expressions and licks down pat. He even pulls off covers of standards like Muddy Waters' "Hoochie Coochie Man" by re-purposing it as "Hoochie Coochie Boy," playing the youth card.
Latz certainly has the skills and you can't help but seek out the other kids in the audience and wonder if they'd be able to do the same given that special mix of passion, drive, determination, encouragement and dedication.
Yet, he's still clearly something of a novelty, as evidenced by the way the crowd chuckles when he says something like "this next song we're gonna get a little funky," before launching into a rocked-up version of The Meters' "Cissy Strut."
A stronger guitarist that vocalist, Latz has plenty of time to work out whatever kinks there are. There's no fear he won't improve, only that people may lose interest once he's not a prodigy anymore and joins the ranks of adult blues guitarists. But at age 9, that's a long way off.