Moon Taxi is a band that leads a double life.
For road warrior bands, live shows are either very serious musical endeavors or loud, rowdy shows full of musical missteps. Nashville’s Moon Taxi is out to prove it’s possible to have fun playing quality music.
“There’s this kind of struggle between musicianship and showmanship, and we like to kind of be both performers and musicians at the same time,” said the band’s lead singer and guitarist, Trevor Terndrup. “We’re fun to watch, but at the same time, it’s interesting music, too.”
Moon Taxi – made up of Terndrup, drummer Tyler Ritter, guitarist Spencer Thomson, keyboard player Wes Bailey and bass player Tommy Putnam – has been playing its style of psychedelic rock for the past several years.
The group has opened for various acts, like Matisyahu, Govt Mule and Umphrey’s Mcgee. Between touring and writing new music, the guys stay busy.
“That’s been the trend lately, is to, when we have some time, work on writing new songs,” Terndrup said. “We do find time to write in the midst of touring. It’s hard, but it’s definitely possible. It’s a full-time job. You gotta get up early and pack up and unload and do soundcheck and eat and after it’s all said and done you gotta muster up the energy to go create new stuff. It’s a hard job, but it’s so rewarding.”
Moon Taxi is writing new tunes to create a follow-up to its debut album, “Live Ride.”
Thanks to ever-changing technology, the songwriting process is changing up the band’s sound – just a little.
“(Before) we’d get together and everybody would bring a lick to the table. Now we’re just sitting down at the computer. One person might bring the lyrics and one person might bring a line and we marry the two. We learn to play them live, and it’s like learning a cover song of your own band, which is weird, but it’s really cool,” he said.
Each band member has his own favorite style of music, so bringing all those sounds together always keeps the sound fresh.
“We’re retaining the element of psychedelic rock, but bringing it into the 21st century, with electronica and nods to classic rock and grunge,” he said. “These influences are swimming around, and we’re beginning to tap into that pool and create something new.”
Moon Taxi’s sound will be on display at today’s Down on Main, when the group opens for Rebirth Brass Band.
“We are an aim-to-please band,” Terndrup said. “We just want to put on a show and have everybody walk away smiling, have everybody enjoy it, have everybody sing-along by the end of the night.”
Down on Main
Who: Rebirth Brass Band, Moon Taxi, The Grove
When: 5:30 p.m.
Info: (662) 841-6598
– The Grove is the first band chosen by Cellular South’s Emerge program. The program, at cellularsouth.com/emerge, showcases rising artists and allows music fans to discover and share new music. The Grove will perform at 5:30 p.m., followed by Moon Taxi at 6:30 p.m.
Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal