Ride the Moon Taxi Live at High Dive
They’re on the lineup to jam out at Coachella in the trendy hills of Cali, they’ve wooed the crowds at Bonnaroo in the summer heat of Tennessee and now they are taking the stage at Gainesville’s very own High Dive on Friday February 5th.
Gainesville, prepare for a night with the musical melting pot, indie-rock band Moon Taxi. And why would such a big act be gracing little old Gainesville with their presence? Because “alligators are pretty damn cool.”
The Nashville natives will be touring on their fifth album, Daybreaker. The album was released in late October and has proven to be another stepping stone in fine-tuning the sound that has taken the five-piece band from the dorms at Belmont University to festival stages around the country.
The band boasts a sound much like a hybrid of many successful indie bands preceding them, culminating in an almost cross-bred rock. Little bits of pop and Vampire Weekend-esque melodies linger among more prominent southern sounds and classic, grainy guitar. Lead singer Trevor Terndrup belts vocals that mesh the signature voices of bands like Kings of Leon and Maroon 5. (Yes, that’s an odd match up. And yes, it works perfectly anyway.)
Eloquent, contemplative lyrics are layered over a sound that seems to incorporate a little bit of everything. Tracks alternate between more musically-dense, heavy hitting guitar chords to more easy-listening hits with dreamy, upbeat ballads. Their sound is fluid and volatile- yet it is this volatility that has become a formula for success for the group. Each track can be thought of as a stand-alone piece.
The band’s rise to success has come hand-in-hand with a more polished and distinguishable sound, aided by some upgrades on the producing end of their work. Producer Jacquire King, known for his work with Kings of Leon and Modest Mouse, aided the quartet in the production of their latest album, adding that same professional sound to Daybreaker. Each song is also recorded live, so all of you auto-tune cynics can rest easy. You get what you actually heard with Moon Taxi. It’s this philosophy and an exuberant live energy that make their sound perfectly suited for big festivals and smaller shows alike.
Drummer Tyler Ritter gave GainesvilleScene an inside look at what it’s like to ride the Moon Taxi.
Doors will open at 9 pm and tickets will be sold for $14 at the door and $12 in advance. Moon Taxi is expected to go on at 10 pm.
How would you describe your sound to someone who had never heard it?
What’s your favorite song to perform live?
I’ve always loved playing “Beaches”, just because it has so many parts that go up and down in dynamics. That song has become a big crowd favorite, so it makes performing that song even more exciting because everyone is super pumped when the first chords start.
What are you most proud of on the new album?
I’m very proud of the fact that every song on Daybreaker can stand alone as a great piece of work. Every single track on the record shows how much maturity we have developed with our songwriting even since Mountains Beaches Cities. There are no duds on this one, every song is great.
What other artists’ influences do you hear in your own music?
I’ve always heard, and I think the rest of the guys would agree, a lot of classic rock influence on our records. With Daybreaker I hear a lot more alternative and modern indie-pop rock influence along with the classic sound. “All Day All Night” reminds me of a mix between something off of Paul Simon’s Graceland and something St. Lucia might rock out to. With “Domino” I hear our collective love for Radiohead finally coming out, and “Red Hot Lights” is just a straight up stadium rocker.
Was there a moment where you thought you had finally made it?
(Well, I haven’t bought a boat yet, so I’m not sure if that moment has arrived.) I’d say that performing to around 50k people at Bonnaroo this summer was the most recent moment like that. There have been a couple of the years, and every now and then another amazing opportunity presents itself and shows you that you’re doing the right thing. (I still want that boat though.)
What are you listening to right now?
At this very moment, I’m listening to Tame Impala’s Inner Speaker. I just saw Tool perform in Atlanta the other night for the first time in 15 years, so I imagine that there will be a lot them in my headphones for the next couple of days.
What are you most looking forward to in Gainesville?
There are alligators everywhere, right? I think alligators are pretty damn cool.
You guys met at Belmont University, do you have any crazy college stories?
I think the best stories that we have from those days are from the gigs we did in other college towns. We’ve seen all kinds of crazy shit, but I’ll never forget sitting in on this fraternity initiation in Tuscaloosa. It was absolutely hysterical, and these guys let us sit in there and watch. I think I wound up jumping in and throwing beer all over this kid that was no older than 18. It kind of reminded me of “Eyes Wide Shut” because they were all wearing ceremonial robes and the lights were down, but no one said anything about the password being “Fidelio”.
What’s up next for Moon Taxi?
We’re starting to think about new tunes for the next record and just prepping for festival season. We have some killer gigs lined up, such as our headlining debut at The Ryman in Nashville and at Coachella. We are definitely excited, though, to make our Gainesville debut.
Photos courtesy of Moon Taxi’s Facebook