Moon Taxi is a band that is meant to be heard live. This is pretty clear once you’ve listened to their most recent album, Daybreakers. Their performance at Promowest Fest 2016 did not disappoint.
The Nashville-based band formed while all the members were students at Belmont University. I had a chance to speak with the drummer, Tyler Ritter, before the show (full interview here) and one of the more interesting things he said was that the band had “been on tour for 10 years.” 10 years. 10. That’s half of my lifetime. One-half of my lifetime well spent developing an absolutely sick live show.
The first thing I noticed while watching Moon Taxi was how close all five of the band members were and how much they loved to be on stage. On their website, they refer to themselves as “THE live band,” and, yeah, they are quite the live band. The group is made up of Trevor Terndrup, Tommy Putnam, Spencer Thompson, Tyler Ritter, and Wes Bailey, each on vocals/guitar, bass, guitar, drums, and keys, respectively. The band flew through a 30-minute set like it was nothing. At the end of their show, Trevor claimed that a typical Moon Taxi set could be as long as three and a half to four and a half hours. Clearly, they really enjoy performing on stage, or may just be fond of bombastic exaggeration.
Moon Taxi’s show was enthralled in classic rock energy. The guys spent a lot of time just playing their instruments together. It felt like a jam session us audience members were allowed to sit in on. These guys seem to really enjoy playing their instruments and making good music, and I was totally there for it. The band members communicated and played off each other like a jazz group. I’m honestly not sure if any of the show was improvised, but it did feel so natural. I liked to believe a big amount of it was just that.
Tyler is a monster on the drums. At first, I thought he was going to be the highlight, but keyboardist Wes Bailey swooped in and grabbed the M.V.P. award from Tyler, a common theme I’ve noticed this weekend. Don’t get me wrong, Trevor, Tommy, and Spencer tore up the stage quite a bit, too. Still, it was Wes’ amazing solo during the middle of the show that threw new life into me.
Trevor Terndrup of Moon Taxi. PC: Andrew Burns
The performance overall just pumped me up. Saturday was much more hype than Friday, and for me that all started with Moon Taxi. These guys know how to make a crowd have fun. They were constantly interacting with us, making it feel like we were just hanging out with them. When they did get to more of their catchy tunes like,”All Day All Night,” they made sure everyone was singing along.
I’m pretty sure Wes actually called me out for having to yawn at one point. (I’m sorry Wes, it happens, but that doesn’t mean I’m bored!) I really respected it, though I must admit, at the moment I felt pretty attacked. Even so, that’s exactly the type of care for an audience I love to see from a band. Thank you, Wes.
I’ll for sure be seeing these guys the next opportunity I get. They’re such a great time. Spending three and a half to four and a half hours with them would be three and a half to four and a half hours well spent. Can’t promise I won’t yawn, though.