CONCERT REVIEW: Moon Hooch at Slowdown

Moon Hooch at Slowdown. Photo credit: Dean Birkheimer.

October 4, 2017 – The small room at the Slowdown played host to a musical journey of three artists featuring three different genres of music that shouldn’t have melded at all, but in the end made perfect sense.

Lavender Fields opened with her experimental music.  Her sound washes over you in a pleasant manner.  You find yourself swaying and bouncing to her reggae, dub and electronic sound.  She is a Long Beach native who is not only a fine musician, but a producer as well.  She creates environmentally conscious music and has said “When making music, I intend to elevate the listener’s mood and bring well being through music.”  Her first full-length album is due to be released later this year and it’s definitely worth a listen.

Jackson Whalan stepped on stage next.  This guy is a multi-talented, lyricist and performer.  He hits you with a variety of hip-hop and electronic bass music.  He seems to be inspired by social issues and wants you to take in his words and give them thought.  He told us that he was influenced by a trip to India and his music certainly did reflect that.  He brought a golden clad dancer/singer on stage and the interaction of the two of them was extremely entertaining.  The visual addition to the music was spot on.  There was a moment of free forming that was nothing less than impressive.  Jackson is a indeed a Sensitive New Age Guy. 

Almost a year ago to the day Moon Hooch was in Omaha.  I knew of the band but never seen them perform live, so I thought I’d check them out.  Normally when I attend a show, I get there early, get up front and after three or four songs, work my way to the back and enjoy the performer from a distance.  This was not the case for Moon Hooch, I was up front and I stayed up front. Their music simply compelled me to do so.  A year later, nothing had changed.  No one makes music like this band.  Their music is made for your feet.  It’s so hard to stay still, but then again, who would want to.  They are made up of three members, two saxophone players and a drummer/percussionist.  Mike Wilbur and Wenzl McGowen blow while James Muschler pounds.  Wenzl produces wind driven bass sounds with his baritone sax, while Mike uses his tenor sax as if he were a lead guitarist.  James is as fast a drummer as I’ve seen.  He is always smiling and seems to happiest behind his kit. His cave man mentality creates a show within a show.  At one point Wenzl placed a traffic cone in the end of his instrument and deep rich sound it created was stunning.  You could feel the vibrations deep inside yourself.  There was basically no gap between songs everything was melded together providing us with a non-stop dance show.  The music despite being wind and drums sounds electronic and bass driven.  It doesn’t matter what kind of music you’re into, you gotta give this band a serious listen.  You won’t be disappointed.

– Dean Birkheimer

Lavendar Fields

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Jackson Whalan

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Moon Hooch

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Photos courtesy of © 2017 Dean Birkheimer.

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