Moon Taxi sends us skyward on Halloween Night at Track 29
Nashville-based band Moon Taxi is coming to Chattanooga for Track 29’s Halloween Bash on Oct. 31. While it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when a band has “made it,” (Kurt Cobain said that for Nirvana, it was when Weird Al did a parody of them) Moon Taxi is a group that is, at the very least, “making it.”
They made their network debut on “Late Night with David Letterman” in 2013 followed by an appearance on “Conan” in 2014 and a tour schedule as grueling as any I have ever seen. With highly successful appearances at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits and Governor’s Ball under their belt, it’s safe to say that the band has or is playing everywhere that’s anywhere.
Moon Taxi’s upcoming show in the Scenic City is in support of their latest album, Daybreaker. Their third studio album, Daybreaker was born out of the countless hours of grueling roadwork that accompanied the promotion of their previous album, Mountains Beaches Cities. Technically labeled “indie progressive” (whatever the hell that means), Moon Taxi is much harder to pin down.
Certainly a number of different influences have come in to play in the synthesis of their soundA. Tastes of ska and reggae, prog rock and jam band, college rock and good old-fashioned ’90s alternative (whatever the hell that means) are all hinted at in various tracks.
However you try to categorize it, the truth is that broad musical tastes and a great deal of practical experience have gone in to crafting 11 tracks that may very well be Moon Taxi’s breakthrough into mainstream commercial success. Many of my own favorite tracks (including the stirring “Year Zero” and tres smooth “Always”) may or may not be “radio ready” but “Make Your Mind Up” and “Run Right Back” are both serious contenders for Billboard’s Top Ten. The album as a whole suggests that their live shows are living art.
“Domino” is a lovely semi-psychedelic tune, trippy and ethereal (so is “Always”). “All Day and All Night” has a bouncy, infectious Paul Simon quality, circa the Graceland album. “Ready to Go” opens with a deceptively heavy riff and then turns the corner in to a smooth jam that would be as at home on a Caribbean radio station as anywhere.
As easy as it is to run down the track list highlighting some unique quality of each song, it’s worth touching on the unifying elements of the album, not the least of which is Trevor Terndrup’s vocals. Having spent some serious time with the album, I can’t imagine anyone else taking over behind the microphone. It’s as though the band started with Terndrup’s voice and said, “OK, now let’s build a song around this…”
Of course, this is likely just an aspect of the band’s unity overall, a happy byproduct of years spent making music together. Every member is as integral to the sound as any other. In a word, Moon Taxi’s current lineup is damn near perfection.
The show is this Saturday, Halloween, at Track 29 and it is a great opportunity to see up close and personal a band that is one smash hit away from being the next big thing. In all likelihood Daybreaker will be the album that provides that hit.