Thu 22 Sep 2016
Explosive American horn-and-percussion trio Moon Hooch – Mike Wilbur (horns), Wenzl McGowen (horns), and James Muschler (drums) – has taken their exhilarating blend of virtuosic jazz, groovy funk, and pulse-pounding electronic dance music from busking the New York City subway system to stages around the world.
Onstage, the band now plays through a “Reverse DJ” setup, in which the live sound from their horns runs through laptops to process recorded effects. In addition, they utilise Moog synthesisers, as well as an EWI (an electronic wind instrument that responds to breath in addition to touch) and other more traditional instruments like clarinets.
Wilbur added vocals to his repertoire, and Muschler, meanwhile, immersed himself in tabla studies in India in order to expand his percussion skills. On Red Sky‘ their third and most adventurous album to date, the band uses everything they’ve learned from their whirlwind journey to push their sound to new heights, bringing together the raw, transcendent energy of their live performances and the sleek sophistication of their studio work into a singular, intoxicating brew.
Imagine the brassy tones of a wailing sax, but drop it down to the head-throbbing beats of dubstep greats Skrillex and Bassnectar. Throw in the staccato rhythms of a snare drum and the energy of a couple young guys and you get a band that will keep you moving all night.
There is not a band harder to describe or easier to enjoy than Moon Hooch. For any one opening, especially for an established band, possessing a live show with an instant appeal is key. Moon Hooch is energetic, joyful, relentless and, best of all, original. Whether they were playing Bonnaroo or Lincoln Center, Moon Hooch would blow the crowd away. Their powers of persuasion seem to be boundless.
JOHN FLANSBURGH OF THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS