Artist Spotlight

Cyrus Hops… In Your Face

Photography and Article by Syd Innovaria

Cyrus gazes into the sea of people before him.
This show was something I had been excited to see for a great many days. Cyrus himself informed me several weeks prior that his band Cyrus Youngman and the Kingfishers would be headlining this event, and I was so thrilled. I had seen them twice before, once when they did a Tom Waits tribute night at the Hi-Fi, and another time when they played at Union 50. I picked up a CD that night and listened to it for 2 weeks solid afterwards.
What thrills me most about the Kingfishers is the absolutely stellar energy they bring to the stage. Not gonna lie, Cyrus is the MOST active one in the group, always jumping and dancing and leaning out into the crowd, even jumping down and walking around as he sings, sometimes giving high fives, and everything is so fluid it’s as if he choreographed his stage act every night that passes between his shows. And my gosh, I was sold the first time I saw them back at the Tom Waits tribute night. I could never imagine someone could capture the voice of Tom Waits, he has such a unique deep gravelly voice and I have never heard anyone sound remotely like him. Also, Cyrus is high-pitched, so my friends and I stood there questioning each other on whether he could really pull it off.
I don’t know why we even dared to question. It was so perfectly done, I could have closed my eyes and it would have been Tom himself up there.
To describe their sound would be ridiculous. You get a bluegrass feel sometimes, forsure. You get a very unique sound. Something that only the Kingfishers can do, and no one else could sound like them. The combinations of sounds from all the musicians coupled with the stage antics and props is nothing like you will ever see.
When I got ready to go to this performance at Hop Your Face fest, I was very excited. I had been at a different show earlier this day and I was concerned I wouldn’t make it in time. In fact, I was super lucky because I showed up within minutes of Cyrus Youngman and the Kingfishers taking the stage.
They are: Cyrus Youngman- lead vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica; Justin Renner- electric mandolin, backup vocals; Matt Corken- lead guitar, backup vocals; Glenn Dantam- saxophone, percussion; Nathaniel Hood- keyboard, backup vocals; Andrew Roti- bass and Colin Oakley- drums.

Cyrus belts into oblivion.

It wasn’t a completely full house, but it was decent. The crowd was enthusiastic about the festival and very supportive. I had to get all the settings in order and by the time I did that, Cyrus was on stage setting up their equipment. The lights weren’t actually that great for photographic purposes, but it didn’t matter. Cyrus is such a charismatic person, that within moments of their simple sound check he was engaging the crowd and so exuberant that the crowd was in love, even if they weren’t there for him.

Justin having an intense moment with the microphone. 

 The show was one of the best shows I have ever attended to date. From the point where Cyrus jumped down into the crowd multiple times while singing different parts of the song, to the point where he brought out his boxing gloves. The theatrics were phenomenal.

Cyrus means business. 

Justin Renner, the mandolin/backup vocalist, does some really fun on stage-antics as well where he wears a hat made of tinfoil- only it’s not just a hat. It has holes for the eyes and comes down the sides, and he wore that for a good portion of the earlier part of the show.


There were parts where Cyrus brought out an umbrella and danced around on stage using the umbrella as a prop for the song. I’m telling you, their show is worth seeing like no other show before. He often brings out a megaphone as well, using it for different sound effects on the vocals, it’s just beautiful.
He got down into the crowd multiple times, also leaning out into the crowd from the stage as if taunting the audience, but in a fun way. It’s part of the show, but it means something much deeper.
The rest of the band was perfection on their parts. They are always less theatrical- I don’t think anyone can be as theatrical as Cyrus. (Exaggeration, I am sure plenty of others are wonderfully theatrical and he has gotten plenty of influence from others who are theatrical as well.) But that didn’t matter. It was so perfect, as it always is. Everyone was so in tune with each other and it felt so passionate. A fun thing they did at one point was when everyone got down around the drummer and proceeded to bang metal pans together around him. Nothing outrageous, but a very fun intriguing moment that adds to all the excitement and interaction.
My favorite part of the entire night made my soul alive and so warm. Toward the end of the set, he was high-fiving the crowd, and then spoke closely to a few who were super close, and I watched him count 1, 2, 3, 4. Backs up, stands tall, sings a line or two and then launches into the crowd.

“1, 2, 3, 4…”- Cyrus

The crowd held him, as you see in our cover photo for this article. Cyrus floated for a minute or so, and then jumped around and back onto the stage. I cannot describe the way my heart felt at that moment for him- he was crowdsurfing at his own show and it was completely unplanned and absolutely a beautiful experience.
He would often pause and engage with the crowd, not only to make conversation, but to promote their new record which will be released very soon! There is slated to be an album release party before the end of the year, which will be a blast and I strongly recommend for everyone to attend as it will be a beautiful interactive experience for everyone involved. One of the songs from the new record is called Trip To Try, go check it out!
An excerpt from an in depth interview which will be posted on our YouTube channel soon goes as such:

Syd: I know you guys just performed a show last night at Hop Your Face fest. How did you feel about that?
Cyrus: I think the crowd…was AWESOME. And the response from the crowd was awesome.
Nate: Cy got to crowdsurf.

Make sure to check out our YouTube channel Drunk Octopus TV for the full interview, which is full of hilarity and much is explored in depth about Cyrus Youngman and the Kingfishers, which you certainly want to know.

Make sure you also go to their website to sign up for their newsletter and other special things, as well as to stay updated with future shows. They play one Thursday a month at the Casba in Indianapolis, and I hear this next one is going to be exceptional, so don’t miss it! You can click on their link above to find their website.

“The Kingfishers Huddle”

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