Live Review: Moon Hooch @ Moonshiner’s Ball, Berea KY (5/16)

IMG_4342Sometimes in live music all you can ask for is a little originality. If you go to shows enough you start to see the trends and tricks usually used by artists to string their show together. Most of the time that is overshadowed by a great performance, but occasionally things get in danger of becoming stale.

So my suggestion is that anytime you start to feel concerts are getting monotonous, you find out where Moon Hooch is playing and buy your ticket immediately.

The Brooklyn trio is a relatively small band. The sax players have been slamming down contagiously dancey melodies over the drummer’s backbone rhythms ever since their days (only a few years back) playing subways in New York City. Soon enough, the crowds became so big the police had to ban them from playing. They just outgrew it. And they may be small on the festival scene now, but not for long.

The band squealed with a swirling, reverb-y scream to begin the show and it may as well have been a call to the front of the stage. Everyone ran up front to see what was about to happen. The band’s sound is unlike anything you have probably ever heard. You’ve seen party brass bands, playing fun songs in the park. Those groups are great, but Moon Hooch is like their mischievous younger brother. This band is built for sweaty, night-time freakouts. Their squealing saxophone’s, often accompanied by buzzing synth playing as one of the trio would move over, provided only the most infectious, dirty sounds imaginable.

All the crowds had been great at The Moonshiner’s Ball, but not until Moon Hooch arrived did a freaky side really show through. People were dancing like they were in a room alone with no one watching. Sometimes that looks good, and other times it looks embarrassing, but it never looks unwelcome at a Moon Hooch show. The festival had been energetic and friendly up until this show, where it became a full on circus.

No band felt unloved, but Moon Hooch was the only one that I heard people desperately calling for encores. And I don’t blame them. I had a drive back home ahead of me from Berea, and the show went on at full strength well past 2 a.m., but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Moon Hooch by day must be great, but by night, accompanied by moody lighting around the dark county nighttime, they were truly incredible.

Moon Hooch is simply one of the most creative, original bands out there right now. It’s a shame they already played Zanzabar in Louisville this year because I’m already looking forward to the next time Kentucky can see them. When they come, you’ll be hearing them. A band like Moon Hooch is going to be hard to miss.


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