(photo: Hangout Facebook)
Journal by Jeremy Nicholson
Saturday May 17, 2014
It was around 4:15 at the Hangout Music Festival when my girl and I naturally decided to get a couple of frozen daiquiris in order to escape the Gulf Shores heat. The sun was blazing and it seemed appropriate because we were about to indulge on some Moon Taxi via People of the Sun, their Rage Against the Machine tibute moniker. To say the least, I was as giddy as a schoolgirl.
Now, Moon Taxi has played at The Hangout Festival on four different occasions since the festival first started in 2010, and they’ve grown into an increasingly popular act to experience. The Red Bull stage became filled to the brim just prior to the band taking the stage. The gates into the venue were closed and were no longer letting people in. Unfortunately if you didn’t get their early enough then you missed the set.
Moon Taxi has a progressive-indie-jam vibe and some questions were floating around if they could play up to par against the heavy shredding guitar from Tom Morello and Zack de la Rocha’s vocals. I was a little skeptical myself, but felt confident in Moon Taxi’s ability to deliver a proper tribute to the ones who have influenced them and their careers.
Instagram Photo by @thematteldrige
The band jumped on stage as People of the Sun and began playing immediately, opening up with “Sleep Now in the Fire.” The crowd instantly erupted and began to bounce while thrusting their hands into the air forming “the horns.” Wes Bailey (Keyboardist) took the lead singing the first song of the day instead of the usual front man Trevor Terndrup who played lead guitar. Wes had a pretty accurate voice and Trevor was able to re-create the distorted metal effects of Tom Morello.
The band turned it up a notch by playing “Bull on Parade” second, with original Moon Taxi lead guitarist and producer Spencer singing lead. The packed venue with diehard Rage fans danced ferociously with sweat dripping down their faces, incredibly entertained. The band was supplying us with a great interpretation of Rage with hard hitting riffs and sweeping solos while Wes and Spencer took turns singing lead.
Moon Taxi continued with classics like “Know Your Enemy” and “Killing in the Name.” Moon Taxi is an intimate band that consistently delivers a great show. It was clear that Moon Taxi knew what they were doing and have practiced these songs to a tee. The band closed the set a little early with a few original songs like “All the Rage” in order to prepare for their second set of the day at 7:15.
That’s right folks, after Chance the Rapper became ill and was unable to preform, Hang Out replaced the sick Chance with Moon Taxi. It made sense since they were playing on that same stage an hour earlier. The band would play as themselves for there second appearance and despite the short notice Moon Taxi still put together a great second set preforming their own songs and got creative by covering Nine Inch Nails “Closer.”
I credit Moon Taxi for having the confidence to re-create one of the more intricate and talent bands to play in the past 20 years. They nailed the show and allowed hundreds of fans to re-live a band that no longer tours together.