When making plans to see Phil Lesh’s Birthday show in San Francisco last Friday, we checked around to see who was playing nearby on Saturday night. I was really happy to hear Moonalice was playing in Fairfax, and at 19 Broadway , the bar where Furthur had played stealth last year.
Sleeping in late after Furthur and Friends (wow, what a night!) and visiting family and friends in Sonoma county , and another short nap, it was time to go to Fairfax . Another charming Marin town – aren’t they all? The bar was smaller than I expected, and of course I had to think what it was like to see Furthur there. I thought there was to be an Opening band, I saw Crypitcal listed, perhaps a Dead band? If they played, it was earlier than I got there!
Steve Parish is their road manager begins the show with an important message about solving the healthcare crisis, and sets the legendary tone as herallies the tribe and introduces the band. The band breaks into “Down The Road A Piece ”.
Ok, so at this point, I had forgot I was tired, and started dancing. And smiling. There is a joyfulness to the sound, and it is intentional. Moonalice wants take you to a place where you feel like dancing, and it feels real good.
Lots of pretty jams and plenty that are meaty and deep. Every song takes off into a jam, without ever getting lost in the noodles, or forgetting abouot the song. Two sets with the worlds fastest setbreak (think blipvert fast) a great mix of orignals and covers that ran the gamut from fun, “Mr. Spaceman” to sweet, “Peggy-O” to incredible beautiful “Stella Blue “. I must admit, the first time I saw Moonalice, the covers drew me in, though as I listen to them more I love their original songs. I can’t get “Nick of Time ” out of my head lately, and that is a good thing. And it has been a long time since a new song has done that!
Barry Sless plays lead guitar and some pedal steel on most tracks with a mastery only a handful of musicians bring to these instruments – Barry did play bass on a song. John Molo , Barry’s fellow alumnus from Phil Lesh and Friends, is amazing on drums – especially considering he played “For like 32 hours last night at Phil’s birthday” according to Chubby Wombat Moonalice , (Roger McNamee). CWM plays rhythm and bass guitar, and sings many of the songs, as well. And he also is the teller of the “Legends of Moonalice “.
Multi-instrumentalism is key to this band, and the one and only Pete Sears takes turns at keys and bass, as well as singing. Look at his finger action in the videos. And Ann Mcnamee also takes turns on the keyboards, and sings leads and back ups as well.
The current line-up is a five member band, with guitarist GE Smith not playing with the band for now. CWM commented after the show that “ it is more Barry’s band now”, and I agree his talent really gets the spotlight, and from most of the tribe memebers I know, they are more than happy with it. Barry soars us with every song. GE is a great musician, and still a friend of Moonalice, and who knows, may play with them again.
Between songs CWM shared some great stories and legends, and the audience all learned that “The early bird catches the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese”.
The Moonalice Tribe is a very friendly tribal-group of fun people diggin’ good musical vibes. Moonalice feels good, is fun, and is a satisfying musical journey, and plenty of kind souls to share it with.
They are playing some gigs in Southern California this week, Thursday at the Coach House in San Jaun Capistrano , Friday in Temecula, Saturday at The Mint in L.A.(with Delta Nove) and Sunday in Redondo Beach. Don’t miss this chance to see them play. the shows are all reasonably priced, they attract a fun crowd, and the music is the kind.
The kind you will dance to, and smile, and feel good. Good bands do come along, in the nick of time.
Moonalice will play the following dates in Southern California:
|3/18/10||The Coach House||San Juan Capistrano, CA Web site|
|03/19/10||Temecula Theater||Temecula, CA Web site|
|03/20/10||The Mint||Los Angeles, CA Web site||Co-Bill with Delta Nove; our set|
|03/21/10||Brixton South Bay||Redondo Beach, CA||$10 show|
Full details, more dates, free downloads, and cool stuff at www.Moonalice.com