Trevor Terndrup likes to smile. And he likes to point to the heavens. If there one was constant at Brooklyn Bowl that Sunday night, besides joyous and raucous rock n roll, it was Terndrup smiling and raising either his finger or guitar up, almost as if to say “I can’t believe I get to do this for a living.” And if you looked out towards the crowd you’d see them echoing just that.
Moon Taxi – a five-piece rock band from Tennessee – managed to make each song they played that night feel like a triumphant encore and sing along. The band’s been described as jam band, but that doesn’t really apply. No song feels like it goes endlessly and their solos never have this self-congratulatory feel. Each piece complements the other without overshadowing a band mate’s sound.
They featured tunes off their new album “Daybreaker” and the band, as well as the audience could’ve gone “All Day All Night,” as the night’s second song suggested. Many of those tunes seemed to suggest a move away from the prog-like sounds prevalent on their previous works. Lively melodies and earnest lyrics from Terndrup just kept washing over the crowd. And a light show that dazzled had the band moving in and out of crisp silhouettes.
And right before the encore Terndrup channeled his inner Frampton and fired up the talk box for a moving tribute to the late great David Bowie. There were no words of homage, just a wicked version of “Fame,” call and repeat style with the audience. The band disappeared leaving only drummer Tyler Ritter wailing away to bridge the encore. And then things got loud. Busting out fan favorites “Morocco” and “The New Black.” If the band had stop playing at any moment during those two tunes the audience would’ve had no problem finishing up for them. Dancing and singing without a care in the world.
And if one space based cover wasn’t enough, keyboardist Wes Bailey, busted out Elton John’s “Rocket Man.” Yup, for this night the Brooklyn Bowl was no longer a building but, thanks to Moon Taxi, it was an un-earthly vessel taking the crowd in to the stars.
Opening the night was VHS Collection. A look at their faces might make you think that they’re too young to ever have been kind enough to please rewind. But this New York based group has that 80s influenced snyth-pop sound down. Loops, arpeggios, and keys that combine with lead singer James Bohannon’s vocals on tracks like “Lean on Your Friends” almost compel you to dig out some old Brat Pack films so you can get in touch with your childhood. That is, if you’re old enough to have experienced that era. But even if you’re not, VHS Collection’s sound will make you feel like you did. Even when they busted out “Late Night (It’s Okay)” you could feel calls to Dead Moon’s “Its O.K.” And this is a band that will continue to see better days.
Following them was New Jersey’s own Anthony D’Amato. His blend of folk and wild strumming manages to turn heartbreak into cheery melodies. He brought energy and waves of guitar and harmonica that manage to tap into love gone wrong and propel that feeling into something that makes you dance and cheer. There is a poetry to his lyrics that makes loneliness and lament seem like welcome feelings when they are layered over such an up-tempo vibe.
Article: Omar Kasrawi