Byron Space Circus
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Byron Space Circus

Band Rock Funk


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This band has not uploaded any videos




“The Byron Space Circus unleashed a rocking set that included everything from up-tempo funk to tripped-out slow jams. Zeppelinesque keyboards served as preludes to the synthesized funk grooves, held together by Jason Felton’s solid bass work and unswerving percussion by Chanda Cummings. Guitarist Micah Ofstedahl’s vintage funk riffs were a throwback to the Sly Stone era of paisley shirts and afros, though Ofstedahl himself sported neither. It’s OK, though; his cherry-red Les Paul was as pretty a guitar as any, and the sound it produced was warm and bright.” -Garrett Wheeler - Santa Cruz Metro

"Full Fource"

Written by Linda Koffman
Wednesday, 03 September 2008


So Many Hats To Wear, So Little Time

When a man joins a rock band onstage catapulting a live snake around, you know said band is doing something right, or at least something really weird. That “only in Santa Cruz” moment happened to Byron Space Circus.

“We were doing a funky number when this guy started freaking out and jumped onstage swinging a snake around before throwing it back! You just never know what’s going to happen,” says frontman Chris Lynch. “I think partially it’s the music that just makes people freak out.”

At a packed show recently, I witnessed the band’s music do just that. As I held my beer with a mighty grip, my fellow sardines sported fluorescent hats and swooped and swayed in dancing splendor. The scene of costumes and jam band-style revelry put the reality that it was a Wednesday night on the backburner as a swirling energy made me feel like I was standing at the hub of a circus. And I was.

The interesting thing about Byron Space Circus, aside from the unbridled, spirited show, is that the band has become bipolar. Juggling two distinct faces (no pun intended), the four-piece has recently been alternating between an acoustic persona when Lynch leaves the keyboards at home to pick up the mandolin and Jason Felten picks up the standup bass, and their original electric frenzy powered by electric violin, synth and standard electric guitar and bass.

“Within the separate entities of an electric and acoustic band, there’s more diversity. It just keeps it interesting for everyone involved and adds to the twists and turns of our band,” drummer Chanda Cummings states.

We’re not just talking a few variations here and there. We’re talking two completely separate shows. So much so, that when the acoustic version is booked the band will sometimes operate under the moniker Bernie’s Second Cousin.

“The electric stuff is mostly stream of conscience … often encompassing the fascinating world around us in an obscure way,” Lynch says, of the lyrical content to the funkier rock half of the band’s sound. “The acoustic stuff, especially lyrically, is much more grounded, real and sometimes goofy.”

BSC solidified when Lynch, Felten and guitarist Micah Ofstedahl, three childhood friends who lived on Byron Street in Minnesota, decided to migrate to Santa Cruz in 2003 where they joined forces with Cummings. Whereas they started as a truly psychedelic improv jam band, often “playing for 80 minutes that are beautiful and magical but then gone,” as Lynch recalls, the band has tailored its songwriting into formal sets ranging from dark, electric funk to bluegrass-flavored two-step. Space rock meets swinging gypsy jazz.

“Our sound parallels a clown that also has a dark quality to it,” the singer describes. “It might have a happy tone, but there’s just something strange about it.”

Owing thanks to the now-defunct Club Caution for hosting their first show way back when, Byron Space Circus has become a regular around town with festival circuit experience to boot. You might even see them posting up on Pacific Avenue for a set, which Cummings says is “a great experience. The whole world is going by and you’re in your own little world doing your thing.”

Embarking on an upcoming Northwest tour, the band has laid down tracks for two upcoming albums, one acoustic and one electric, to encompass the divergent musical paths it takes. Showcasing each in one night, they’ll hit both the outdoor and indoor stages of the Crepe Place on Sept. 13. And if you catch a show, bring a funky hat. But if you don’t, don’t worry, they supply those too.

“We leave ourselves open to whatever might happen. It’s like, ‘Here’s a box of hats!’ and it’s like spices,” Cummings explains of the props. “You throw it out there into the mix and it changes things. We want people to be a part of it, and because we accept whatever might happen it’s always new. Being able to be weird and freak out together is the beauty of music.”
So go ahead—grab an instrument, hat or snake—and feel free to join the Circus. - Good Times


-The Wooden Eclipse(2009)
-Don't Not Quit Stoppin(2008)



Three guys from Minnesota who’ve known eachother since they were in diapers have been playing music together for almost as long. After several years and almost as many drummers later they found their match… in California… on Craigslist. She fit right in.

Micah Ofstedahl(guitar), Jason Felten(bass) and Chris Lynch(keys,violin,mandolin,vocals) have leveraged off their childhood friendship and countless performances in Minnesota to forge a truly collaborative musical endeavor. Knowing each other so well for so long has proven to be an integral part of creating their music, defining their sound and refining their stage presence. Since their move to the west coast and teaming up with Chanda Cummings(drums,vocals) Byron Space Circus has steadied themselves on a path encompassing a dedicated pursuit toward their highest musical and artistic pursuits, individually as well as collectively.

The music of BSC creates an experience full of energy for a wide variety of audiences to absorb on many levels. Blending well thought compositions with a mix of funk grooves, gritty psychedelia and spacious ambient sounds as well as employing a wide array of vintage gear and modern technology has created an eclectic and distinctive sound.

To add to the experience BSC has branched out to become a whole other entity. Upright bass, fiddle, mandolin, acoustic guitar and a minimalist drum kit round out this alter ego rendition. Though not a bluegrass thing, homage is paid and BSC’s version of a 2 step is keenly delivered to a wanting audience. Adapting their electric compositions as well as writing material specific to the acoustic configuration continues to grow the band.

With more and more out of town touring gigs accumulating, a loyal fan base is steadily growing from Minnesota to California and beyond. As a result BSC’s performances have developed to that of creating a loose atmosphere full of amusement and playfulness while also pursuing a genuinely transformational experience for themselves and their audience. Often a BSC show will include costumes, light show and visual projection. Many senses are at work during their lively and memorable shows.

Byron Space Circus has shared the stage with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, New Monsoon, On the One, Fareed Haque, Devil Makes Three, God Johnson, Trampled by Turtles and many more…

Byron Space Circus has recently released their debut full length electric studio album, 'Don't Not Quit Stoppin'. Followed soon thereafter with a full length acoustic album, 'The Wooden Eclipse'.