I’ve written quite a bit about this band within this precinct’s perimeter, this is because they tick many of my inner boxes on the mental paper titled “What I like about a band.”
They feel to me like a secret- a precious secret that you want to scream from the top of the world, as they are deserving of a much bigger audience, but are too wary lest the machinations of the bigger industry crush and exploit them, or the lazy journalism that surrounds music, pigeonhole them and they get buried along with all the other ‘nearly rans’.
The Moons write beautifully crafted songs, so typical of these Isles, I’ve said it before, but the great lost pop-psychedelia of The Kinks, The Small Faces and The Zombies etc. can be heard. Guitarist James Bagshaw’s input started to draw more from the garage rock from over the pond- The Sonics and the Northwest sound in general being obvious reference points. I liked this direction too.
So, it was a surprise when on a warm September Saturday evening in Brighton- The Green Door Store to be precise- on the first date of their ‘Fables Of History’ tour, that when The Moons took the stage, there was no James. Or Ex-keys and, recently, Ex-Bass man Tom. Turns out they both left the band the week before the tour.
Andy’s’ Weller band partner in crime, Ben, was still bashing the skins though. Ben has been providing percussion for Paul Weller this last year or so-”a good job if you can get it”, so sez Ben when I had a brief chat with him at the end.
Fittingly, the band started with a track off the new album- ‘Forever Came Today’. I’m guessing it’s the commitment to other bands, ie Paul Weller, and constant touring, that means the cogs move a little slower in the releasing of ‘new’ material, as this track I’d first heard when I saw The Moons last year in Eastney (I wrote about it here). The same was true of the next number ‘Revolutionary Lovers’, it didn’t matter, as they both sounded fantastic. The new Bass and Guitar duo were both performing very well- considering they can’t have had much rehearsal time!
The sing-a-long chorus track of ‘Everyday Heroes’ was up next, and sing-a-long the audience did.
The Audience- what I had noticed was alongside the late 30/ early 40 somethings that frequent The Moon’s gigs (plenty of The Jam/Style Council/Weller fans), there was a fair smattering of younger fans- all ‘Modded up’ in smart gear, refreshing to see. A chat with one lad (who commented on my own gear, recognising the Mod ethic) told the story- these were kids of Weller fans, bought up on their Dad’s music, and more than happy to see one (or two) of their heroes band members in such an intimate environment. In fact, he preferred seeing bands in smaller venues than the huge concert halls. This was music to my ears- there IS hope going forward!
Tracks off first album ‘Life On Earth’ sounded as fresh as the new stuff- ‘How Long’ and ‘Torn Between Two’ kept the audiences vocal chords busy. ‘English Summer’, with its beautiful wistful lyrics, reminded us of the wet summer we’d just had. ‘Promised Not To Tell’ is a set favourite for me, as the song descends into a jungle-drum rhythm, leaving me to try to negotiate the venue’s unevenly cobbled floor- tricky to say the least in my Dessie Boots, but I think I managed to pull it off!
‘Something Soon’ and ‘Can You See Me?’ were the only track’s I’d not heard before, and I’m running out of superlatives to describe Andy’s song writing. They were crafted like a true songsmith.
I’d arrived with a posse for this particular gig- my better half Lucy and I were joined by (nearly) Birthday Girl Lou- who had secured the tickets, her lovely Nick, and Scooter folk Julie and Bobby. The band was new to most of the crew, and I think they quite enjoyed it- Nick certainly joined me in having a groove, whilst Lu and Lou shimmied in the way beautiful ladies can
The last quarter or so of the set was a real tour de force.
‘Chinese Whispers’ from the band’s debut has such an infectious feel to it, it’s an instant hit on first listen. The dirtier sound of ‘Double Vision Love’ and the brilliant ‘Don’t Go Changin” keep the momentum going, and the crowd sweaty. The Mod-beat stomp of ‘It’s Taking Over’ is another one of my favourites as is ‘Nightmare Day’, this time it’s given a ‘Promised Not To Tell’ style breakdown- pounding drums and a cowbell to give extra energy, this is The Moons doing carnival! I can’t help but clap, and the only thing missing are a few whistles- this was seriously groovy- it had to come to an end though- pity, I could have had 20mins or so with that beat!
In amongst that lot (the setlist I picked-up was much adapted ‘on the hoof’ as the night went on, so it is even less reliable than my memory!), Andy did a solo of current single ‘Jennifer (Sits Alone)’, after he again de-bunked the whole encore ‘thing’, calling it ‘crap’. It’s a lovely little tune, that has me wondering whether Jennifer is in some way related to Liza Radley- they’d certainly get on well, if they would allow another into their dream-like world, that is.
Another Moons gig complete, and another successful night. How they aren’t bigger is beyond not only me, but several folk I spoke to through-out the evening. A chat with Ben bought me up to date with the recent departures- Temples is their Neo-psyche project, and older departures, Ex-Bassist Adam, is working on some Electronic music- which I’d love to hear, [Adam!].
After talking to some of the younger guys, sharing stories and generally feeling better for the state of music in the future, I had a chat with Andy. A very pleasant chap, happy, like me, with the younger following coming through, disappointed with not only the obvious Cowell-centric pop world, and people being told what to like, but also music press like the NME doing exactly the same (though they’d like to think they were poles apart)- ie here’s a new band, you WILL like them.
Regardless, there is a very rich music vein running through-out this land, you just need to go out and tap-in and find it, and support live music- it is such a rewarding experience.
‘Fables Of History’ is out September 24th, and will be available as a limited edition White Vinyl, as well as all the other usual formats (but NOT 8 track).