Local band you should know: Black Haus
By: Sam Haw
*Editor’s note: The author of this article wanted to be transparent and let readers know that he played guitar alongside one of the opening acts, Jackson Honeycutt.
Since their first show in November 2017, Black Haus has quickly gained a reputation for being one of most energetic up-and-coming bands in the Greensboro scene. Self-described as an “unapologetically black band,” Black Haus is a breath of fresh air in an area otherwise littered with white jazz musicians. Their ability to seamlessly blend rap, punk, electronic music and R&B has made them a favorite among the students of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The band’s members—Jeffrey Tulliz Jr., Patrick Young, Taylor Williams, Sid Pennix and Collin Nesbitt—have spent the last three months tightening as a group, yet still maintaining their initial raw energy.
Pennix, the drummer for Black Haus, reflected on his band’s progress.
“I feel like we know how to work a crowd more than we used to,” Pennix said. “We definitely know how to rock a house show now.”
While Black Haus originally made a name for themselves by covering pop tunes such as “Paranoid” by Kanye West and “Something About Us” by Daft Punk, the group has recently elected to ditch covers altogether.
Jeffrey Tulliz Jr., one of the group’s two singers, is responsible for pushing the group in the new direction.
“Musically, we’ve grown from covers to doing all original songs,” Tulliz Jr. said.
The group writes songs as a unit, mostly relying on the aid of voice memos taken during their rehearsals. Later, they listen to these to find specific sections they like, which they will re-work until they feel each song is complete. The lyrics are typically handled by Young and Tulliz Jr., who both functions as the group’s vocalists.
Nesbitt, the bass player in the group, felt that their ability to improvise and work off of each other’s energy has helped with this process.
“We just jam it out and really get into the feeling, which helps us get more cohesive,” Nesbitt said. “If you can’t jam, you don’t necessarily feel like a band.”
This aspect is one of their most appealing strengths as a group. They are a jam band for the modern age, yet much rawer than your run-of-the-mill Grateful Dead wannabes. Their instrumentals are comparable to that of earlier groups such as Funkadelic and Death, the Detroit proto-punk band (not to be confused with the Orlando death-metal band). Still, the vocal juxtaposition between hard-hitting rap and smooth, soulful R&B makes for a more current sound, somewhat in the vein of acts like Tyler, The Creator and The Internet. This sonic melting pot, both nostalgic and modern, could only exist in the age of Spotify, in which the common listener has instant access to almost all popular recorded music. Perhaps, this is what makes them so attractive to a college audience.
While Black Haus has grown an impressive local following in less than four months, they still have their sights set on a larger goal: playing at bigger venues and touring. But, this comes with its own set of challenges.
“I go to house shows and venues all the time, and I’ve never seen people show up the way they do for our house shows,” Pennix said. “Our next step is moving the energy, the passion and the ambiance off of the house shows to a venue, where we can survive off of this and make a living.”
Even if the pay isn’t necessarily there yet, the band is still doing pretty damn well in the local house show circuit. On Feb. 16, Black Haus headlined a show at Grime House, which was packed almost entirely for the group.
Asher Sizemore, a local cellist, attended the show after previously seeing Black Haus at Poe Palace, another house venue on the opposite end of campus.
“The vocalists [are] always energetic,” Sizemore said. “My favorite parts were some of the more rap-oriented moments; they got everyone excited.”
Caroline Lass, a student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, had the pleasure of seeing Black Haus for the first time.
“I really enjoyed the experience,” Lass said. “Their sound is unique, and the audience seemed really into their set.”
As per usual at a Black Haus show, the audience was engaged, dancing and singing along to whatever the band threw at them. Young and Tulliz Jr. positioned themselves in the middle of the dance floor, allowing them to control the energy and intimacy of the show. The trio of instrumental members stayed back to watch each other and lock in the grooves. Nesbitt, however, stood on the bass amp the whole show, giving him height above the crowd. Unfortunately, this made for a few issues, but the band was quick to fix them.
Zoe Anastasia, who performs as Saphron, admired the band’s ability to overcome technical difficulties.
“They were having some mixing issues, and Collin’s amp kept cutting out,” Anastasia said. “But, I think they handled it well.”
With the larger-than-life stage presence of Tulliz Jr. and William’s incredible skill on the guitar, minor mistakes can easily go undetected.
By playing to their strengths, the band was able to problem solve quickly and return to put on one hell of a show.
Want to see this band perform with your own eyes? Black Haus has an upcoming performance on March 6 at Poe Palace.