Moon Taxi stops at DragonFly Nov. 20
Next stop: The moon.
Nashville rock outfit Moon Taxi will take listeners on a stellar audio journey Friday, Nov. 20, at the DragonFly Theater & Pub in Boone.
Though its jams are commendable, Moon Taxi strives to bridge the gap between rock and jam, driving home tight tunes with seamless transitions - a technique that's been perfected through heavy touring and consistent practice.
"We're trying to appeal to a broader audience, encompassing the jam band fans, while really drawing in more popular culture and rock fans at the same time," guitarist and vocalist Trevor Terndrup said.
Though instrumentalism cannot be overlooked, Moon Taxi prides itself on smart lyrics tempered with thought and emotion, something Terndrup said is one of the most important factors in music performance.
"When we tell a story, we should have the appropriate emotion behind it," he said. "We don't want to sing a sad song and have some frilly melody over top - you want it to make sense. We want to bring it back to the lyrics, bring it back to the song."
Apart from Terndrup, Moon Taxi features Spencer Thomson on guitar, Tommy Putnam on bass, Wes Bailey on keyboards, and Tyler Ritter on drums. This lineup has remained consistent for more than three years, though Terndrup and Putnam played music together further back in a high school band.
When they attended college in Nashville, they met up with another guitarist and became the rhythm section of a rap band, the first year in which they found themselves performing at the Ryman Auditorium, home of the Grand Ole Opry. When practicing, the rhythm section would venture off into its own material, which eventually led to Moon Taxi.
But the musicians have not forgotten their past, often incorporating hip-hop sounds into their repertoire and adding to the understatedly eclectic nature of their musical catalogue, which shares influences from world rhythms, Afrobeat and even Russian sailor dances.
"We've been playing our own respective instruments for well over a decade ... and I don't think there's any question of what else we were going to be," Terndrup said. "It was just a matter of finding each other and finding people who make you feel better. We were fortunate enough to get together and get on the same page and enjoy what we're doing."
This is reflected in the music, a sound that's energetic and driven, and Terndrup considers it no coincidence. "That's what some of our songs are about - the joy of playing music and meeting people at the same time," he said.
For Moon Taxi, joy also comes from the unexpected. The band devises a unique set list for each performance, which keeps the show interesting for both performers and audience members.
"We could play a song one way this night, and the next night go into it differently," Terndrup said. "It makes it enjoyable for us, and I think it's really fun for our audience, the fans who really know our songs, to hear it in a different context. We like to challenge ourselves every night to make something unique."
Listeners can get a taste of this on Moon Taxi's new live album, Live Ride, released this February, a fitting companion for the band's studio-recorded debut, Melodica.
"If you listen to the live album and were to cut out the audience you might think it was a studio album, just because of the quality of our music - we're really tight live," Terndrup said. "Everyone nails it pretty much all the time."
The band is currently amassing new material for another album, having already introduced a few new numbers at recent shows.
"We like to do that to keep our audiences on their toes," Terndrup said. "At a Moon Taxi show, you can expect to hear seamless transitions, over-the-top showmanship and musicianship, classic sing-along covers on occasion, a seizure-inducing light show and mesmerizing guitar harmonies."
The band's efforts have paid off, with Moon Taxi opening for some of the industry's most notable acts, including Matisyahu, Gov't Mule and the New Mastersounds.
On Nov. 20, their performance will be opened by Boone favorites The Native Sway.
"We're kind of making our way up the East Coast and have never played Boone," Terndrup said. "Boone has been on our list of places to play for the longest time, and we're more than excited to get there."
Moon Taxi and The Native Sway will perform at the DragonFly Theater & Pub, located at 215 Boone Heights Drive, on Friday, Nov. 20, at 10 p.m. The cover is $5 for those over 21 years of age, and $7 for those under. For more information, call (828) 262-3222 or visit http://www.dragonflytheater.com.
For more information on Moon Taxi, visit http://www.ridethemoontaxi.com or http://www.myspace.com/moontaxi.