Liz Cooper and the Stampedes electrify the Top Hat

Liz Tyler and the Stampedes at the Top Hat. (William Munoz)

I knew Liz Cooper to be a really good guitar player, but what I wasn’t prepared for was just how much better she is live.

Cooper has called her music ‘psychedelic dream folk rock’. The band brings a definite late 1960s feel that the West Coast Bay Area bands had — think Jefferson Airplane.

Cooper’s guitar moves out of the ‘dreamy’ atmospheric playing into a full-on hardcore rock that electrified the crowd. Her guitar is plugged into effects boxes (most all guitar players do) that she manipulates with great finesse to capture the moods that her band mates, Grant Prettyman on bass and Ryan Usher on drums, are creating.

Liz describes how she relates to these two, saying Prettyman’s “bass sometimes sounds like a scary monster that lives in your basement, or a beautiful melody that makes you wanna cry.”

And drummer Usher is “always creatively thinking outside the box … is always there to reel us back in from a jam we’ve lost ourselves in.”

If ever you can see this band live, do it.

To see photos of Cooper and her band, along with other bands playing Missoula, check out our photo gallery by following this link.