Moon Hooch New Year’s Concert Review

A few weeks back I interviewed the band “Moon Hooch” prior to their New Year’s Eve concert (which I attended as their guest). Here are my impressions of the show:

Moon Hooch is a trio, two saxophonists and a drummer. The unusual combination only begins to hint at the uniqueness of their sound. In contrast to the opening groups that night, which were enjoyable but derivative revistations of sounds that were twenty to forty years old, Moon Hooch sounded utterly new and fresh.

As a child of the 80’s my dominant impression of the saxophone is the slow jammin’ solos that appeared on every recording of that saxophone-loving era –but this music didn’t sound anything at all like the 80’s! The best way to describe the sound is as electronica music played live on acoustic instruments. That, however, is perhaps too faint a way to praise the raw talent needed to translate sounds usually conjured up by studio wizardry into an actual live performance –and this is definitely a band that needs to be experienced live. The videos I saw online gave only a small hint of the ferocious power pouring out of their horns during their set.

Although Moon Hooch’s sound is really sui generis, if I had to compare them to anything, it would be BADBADNOTGOOD for a similarly youthful and iconoclastic approach to horns and drums, or maybe even Pentatonix for a acoustic/human-centered reinterpretation of electronic sources, although their raw, rockin’ sound is the opposite of Pentatonix’ glitzy pop (a better comparison might be Detroit’s genre-bending acoustic house ensemble, Nyumba Musiki). The best moment of the concert for me was when they pulled out a crazy horn I had never seen before and began to produce full-on dirty dubstep bass, with their drummer producing rhythms of a complexity that would have challenged the skills of a drum machine.

If I had a complaint about the concert it’s that either their set list was short enough that they needed to repeat themselves, or their songs were enough alike one another that I might have mistaken one for the other. Either way, it’s easily explained by the youth of the band and the virtuoso difficulty of their compositions. (They also missed out on at least one sales opportunity by shutting down their merchandizing table prior to the start of their set, thus catering only to pre-existing fans!)

Minor quibbles aside, I highly recommend this group. If you have a chance to see this group perform live –and you’d like to hear what the future sounds like –make sure you don’t miss it.

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