Empowered female rock fills void in local music
Taylor, Toth, and Lyon make Whoa, Man! rock
From left, Teresa Lyon, Sunny Taylor, and Eliza Toth share lead vocals in the local group Whoa, Man!
October 21, 2020
Eliza Toth, Sunny Taylor, and Teresa Lyon are the fearless front-women of Whoa, Man!, an 80’s rock cover band committed to “Celebrating women in rock.”
New as a group to the Fort Wayne music scene, the band was formed in April 2019 after the three already-established musicians decided to combine over the central message of women empowerment.
After a pleasantly chilling first rehearsal of Stevie Nicks’ “Edge of Seventeen,” the Whoa, Man! members felt goosebumps and realized something truly amazing was igniting their inner rockstar.
“We came out swinging and even surprised ourselves,” Toth said.
Filling Fort’s Void
It’s no secret that Fort Wayne’s music scene is constantly evolving and growing, even during a pandemic, never lacking a fresh sound. Rising from the COVID-19 ashes when the band did not perform since their Embassy show in February, Whoa, Man! is finding a natural embrace for their ode to rock classics.
They found that Fort Wayne folks really enjoy themed shows, especially ’80s jams. With an authentic camaraderie that excites the crowd, the three alternate vocals, highlighting each artist’s own musical strengths. The draw is a familiar collection of songs, backed by a current, uplifting message.
Although Fort Wayne has seen its share of cover bands, this one feels like a rejuvenation of the hits. Professionally poised, yet maintaining the prerogative to improvise as rockers should, Whoa, Man! wins at delivering quality in all aspects of a performance. Honoring tunes such as “I Feel the Earth Move,” “You’re So Vain,” “Our Lips are Sealed,” and “Manic Monday,” these rockers unabashedly own the stage in look, sound, and overall presence.
Cool shades and a sharp, white electric guitar complement the band members’ unifying black outfits, allowing for an entire ’80s rock escape. Each song pays tribute to the female rock legends, as Toth, Taylor, and Lyon perform rad belts and spot-on harmonies. Their stage presence is one of complete freedom to be bold in expressing sass, desire, and a feel-good energy that radiates.
Seizing the Selection and the Sound
The talented trio have each been leads in their own bands before coming together for Whoa, Man! However, they each still had “bucket-list songs” in their back pockets waiting to be performed.
Achieving full control of the set list became a key ingredient to the artists’ current musical aspirations. The band members collaborated on song choice organically, and according to the music that best fit their unique vocals. Through the music, they encourage and inspire each other to become fully themselves.
“We each have our own personal goals,” Toth said. “This band pushes all of us.”
The three said that their musical chemistry is a bond that keeps them thrilled to be performing together.
With similar tastes in music, it wasn’t hard for Whoa, Man! to decide upon the perfect combination of tunes to rock the house. A process led by the heart, the band admits that “Ooo I love this song!” was how they began song selection.
The genre of ’80s female rock is a varied, yet universally known one, containing songs that strike the heart and also have the perfect amount of “so what” attitude. The ability to engage with each song separately, but also as a set, takes musical acumen and skill. Sure to include entertaining instrumental and vocal solos, the band dives into the genre without losing their distinctive personality and willingness to experiment.
With a play-on name that is incorporated into their show whenever possible, Whoa, Man! exists to inspire girls and women to be true to themselves. Toth, Taylor, and Lyon are all parents and firmly believe in the notion of “Mom Rock” — playing rock to encourage their own children.
Another aspect of how this band really transcends with a women-empowered spotlight is the fact that they have taken to honing their craft.
These women have devoted countless hours to their music throughout their careers, further enforcing their message while having a tremendous time doing so.
Goal Gigs and Defining Dreams
Looking toward the future, the band hopes to open for a prestigious female artist that comes through town.
They also unanimously agreed that their performance last year at The Clyde was phenomenal and would love to play that venue again soon.
“We struck a balance between playing great rock shows and pairing up with great organizations,” Taylor said, referring to Destiny Rescue, a human trafficking relief organization that the band has teamed up with.
“It’s cool to use a platform we love to make a positive impact and to be a role model,” she said. Taylor added that the band would like to team up with a women’s shelter in Fort Wayne in the future.
Whoa, Man! is taking the Fort Wayne music scene by storm, urging all people to rock out to the classics. Stand by to see where this dedicated, professional band goes next as they grasp musical momentum that will assuredly allow them to soar.
“I feel grateful to be a part of it,” Taylor said. “It feels like a family. It is a family.”
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