Last night, the Chicago Cubs played the San Francisco Giants on their home turf at Chicago’s Wrigley Field. For the opening ceremony, 15-year-old guitarist Brandon “Taz” Niederauer delivered an impressive version of “The Star-Spangled Banner”, the United States’ national anthem.

Niederauer’s version was reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix’s 1969 performance at Woodstock Music & Arts Fair, which ranks among the most famous performances of any song in the history of rock and roll. During Hendrix’s solo, instrumental take on the song, he channeled the atmosphere of beauty and love amid anger and aggression that defined the culturally tumultuous era. You can hear the Air Force dive bombers staking their lives for the country in Vietnam through Jimi’s whammy bar dives. You can feel the mourning of American mothers and fathers in the fragments of military funeral hymnal “Taps” he added near the song’s end. You can hear the nation’s chaos in the atonal distortion. And you can hear the hope shine through as Hendrix hits the anthem’s final notes with optimistic purpose.

In the wake of this week’s latest wave of scandal surrounding national anthem protests in the NFL, Brandon “Taz” Niederauer’s performance was especially poignant. Whether the young guitarist’s style choice was influenced by the recent controversy surrounding the anthem or it was just a young kid imitating his guitar hero is hard to say. In today’s America, any performance or discussion of the national anthem is inevitably loaded and potentially divisive. Either way, there are definitely sparkles of Jimi’s magic somewhere in Taz’s DNA, and you can see the proof below.

While the performance was omitted from the TV broadcast, you can watch the spectacular performance below, courtesy of John Nunu Zomot:

Brandon “Taz” Niederauer – The Star-Spangled Banner

[Video: Nunu Zomot]

It’s been quite the year for Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, who recently wrapped his two-year stint in the original cast of School of Rock on Broadway and shifted his focus to high school and playing shows with his own band. In the last month and change alone has sat in with Tedeschi Trucks Band, The String Cheese Incident, and more at SweetWater 420 Fest; played with star-studded late-night lineups in New Orleans during Jazz Fest including Voodoo Dead (with George Porter Jr.,  Steve Kimock, Jackie Greene, Jeff Chimenti, JM Kimock, and Wally Ingram); Z-Funk: A Tribute To Led Zeppelin & Parliament Funkadelic (with members of Turkuaz, Snarky Puppy, The New Mastersounds, and more); and a tribute to Col. Bruce Hampton with members of Widespread Panic, Marcus King, and more.  Head to his website for a list of upcoming tour dates.