Who knew you could make such good dance music with saxophones? Brookyln’s own Moon Hooch came home Thursday, August 25 with an energizing show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. With a style Moon Hooch refers to as “Cave Music. Organic House Music. More wild, more jagged, more free, more natural to live in and dance in,” Moon Hooch rocked out with Billyburg attendees with a satisfying two-hour set.
Getting their start by performing in Williamburg’s Bedford L station, Moon Hooch hit local notoriety by getting kicked out by the MTA for “starting too many dance parties.” They have since gained popularity nationwide by touring with indie powerhouse They Might Be Giants.
The Music Hall of Williamsburg is a mid-size venue with reasonable ticket prices hovering around $25. Moon Hooch tickets were $20–a great deal for, including the opening band, three hours of entertainment. The music hall has three floors and two bars; it had a lounge, a floor, and a mezzanine with bars on the lounge and mezzanine. The mezzanine had tables with chairs around the periphery and stadium seating. The venue was clean and convenient, only a 15-minute walk from neighboring Greenpoint.
The opening band was Bears. Not to be confused with 80s group The Bears, Bears is a self-described “doom pop” band. They opened with an hour-long set reminiscent of The Smashing Pumpkins or The Verve. It was good ol’ alternative rock time, but the floor really started heating up around 10PM, as the main attraction was set to take stage.
No introduction needed, Moon Hooch jumped out. Wenzl McGowe and Mike Wilbur grabbed their saxes off the stands. The drummer, James Muschler, rocked no shirt. They began their set with the trippy “Psychotubes.”
Here is footage I got of their opening song from my mezzanine seat:
The guy positioned right in front of center stage really stole the show. He kept up his mad moves all night!
Moon Hooch then transitioned into some “ambient improv,” before launching into a bunch of new tracks from their new album, Red Sky. Notable tracks were “Low 5,” “Alien Invasion,” and “Rough Sex.” There were little to no breaks for the band as they flowed seamlessly from one track into the other, including some techno improv and a sax solo by McGowe. The energy from the crowd never died down, as everyone saved no energy for an afterparty.
One thing that was different from some of their previous shows is that one of the members tried his hand at vocals in “St. Louis.” There were no male vocals three years ago at their show at Brooklyn Bowl. While they weren’t my favorite part of the set, it was nice to see the band expand their skill set and try new things.
About three-quarters of the way through their set, Moon Hooch busted out with “Number 9” The crowd went wild. This was the song they sampled the iconic “Ladies and gentleman, the next L train is now arriving on the Manhattan bound tracks.” Brooklyn knew and appreciated their home song.
They ended with “Contra Dubstep,” which is a markedly different song from the ever-catchy “Contra.” Notably absent from this set was “Contra” (Dictionary: Contra – preposition – “against.”), perhaps due to to a desire to focus on the new album or the lack of availability of the female vocalist. Whatever the reason, “Contra Dubstep,” is still a great example of the band’s self-described “Cave Music,” bold and with bass drops.
Moon Hooch thanked the crowd and exited the stage, but no one budged. There had to be an encore. Sure enough, they stepped right back out with their encore song, “Number 1.” I do have a video of the encore too, but you’ll have to go see them in person to see it. Moon Hooch deserves it.
The show was a fantastic reminder that fresh music is alive and well in Brooklyn. Moon Hooch put on their signature energetic performance with a new album that not only will resonate with saxophone connoisseurs, but with anyone looking for something to dance to.