Moon Taxi: Live Ride

By: Dennis Cook

Nashville's Moon Taxi redeem the notion of a "jam band," a descriptor that's grown into an epithet in the larger musical world that implies endless, limp noodling and lack of compositional or vocal substance. Not so with Moon Taxi, who are a jam band in the same way Little Feat or Bob Marley & The Wailers are jammers. Like these ancestors, Moon Taxi synthesizes divergent elements into a cohesive, concert-ready rush. It's pumping hard onstage where the real animal emerges in such bands, which makes Live Ride (self-released) a prime intro to this vibrant group who incorporate roots rhythms, Latinismo, Phish-y riffs, complex fusion and gutbucket, blue collar rock (a la early Doobie Brothers, actually…) into a pretty enjoyable ball they hurl with serious gusto.

Live Ride follows their studio debut, Melodica, and features eight previously unreleased songs as well as fan favorites. The crowd roar that hits when you press "play" seems indicative of the uplift they generate in concert, and these performances capture some part of that energy, a going-for-the-jugular dedication that looks for the folks in the back of the room not getting off and strives to make them pop. While I've never seen Moon Taxi with my own eyes, this set makes it easy to imagine the amorphous, joyful roiling in front of the stage. In their mixture of interesting time signatures, feel good melodies and genre-snubbing diversity, they are kin to archetypal jam bands like God Street Wine, String Cheese and the aforementioned Phish, but, like those bands, possess their own identity, their own way of handling the raw materials. Most aspects of this set are boldly delivered and curved with modern touches that recall Cafe Tacuba's tweaking of dance floor fare and slow burners.

What one finds on Live Ride is well played, well sung music with clever, satisfying touches galore tucked into songs – the smooth boogie piano breakout at the end of "Here To Stay" and the livetronica tail on "Morning Time" being just too highlights. Moon Taxi seems interested in music without borders, and that alone marks them as one to keep an ear bent towards in the future.

Moon Taxi is hitting the road with New Mastersounds and DJ Logic starting April 22 in Asheville, NC. Should be a hell of a bill. Full Moon Taxi tour dates are here.

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[Published on: 4/16/09]

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NittyGritty Thu 4/16/2009 02:41PM
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Hell yes, moon taxi rocks. Definitely see them if you get a chance

WidespreadMule3 Thu 4/16/2009 03:22PM
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oh yeah!!! that's where it's at right there! love love love me some moon taxi! this is the next up and coming big thing. do yourself a favor and check them out now before they starting headlining!

Old No. 7 Thu 4/16/2009 03:57PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Old No. 7

good shit. Check em out if you havent yet, you wont be disapointed

henry parsons starstarstarstarstar Thu 4/16/2009 05:08PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

henry parsons

MOON TAXI does straight work on stage. lyricly 2nd to none and the musical talent that they bring is just plain nasty.

Dirty5155 starstarstarstarstar Thu 4/16/2009 06:58PM
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Good for you guys.Great cd...Great live act

DankSinatra starstarstar Thu 4/16/2009 10:00PM
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WORD my boys have made it. I am so happy for these guys. Fuck yeah! This is a badass spot they got with DJ Logic and NMS, they are really taking it to the next level. if you havent seen this band you really need to just check them out before you think they "suck"

rsb8004 Thu 4/16/2009 11:03PM
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i saw them for the first time recently and became an immediate fan. They are pretty impressive.

T.Ivey Fri 4/17/2009 02:37AM
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As badass is Live Ride is...nothing can match the energy in the room at a Moon Taxi show. Catch these guys while they're playing more intimate venues. 12th and Porter was rocking the night this album was recorded, almost as much as Exit/In was during the release party.

Distraction_420 Fri 4/17/2009 06:31AM
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Just heard about these guys after reading the article the other day about them plaving with New Mastersounds and DJ Logic. Already becoming a fan, and hope to see them soon.

Dire46daysWolf starstarstarstarstar Fri 4/17/2009 01:22PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


moon taxi is the real deal. god i love this band.

nppllc starstarstarstarstar Sat 4/18/2009 02:58PM
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keishedkushed Thu 4/23/2009 11:41AM
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moon taxi rocks socks off. what a well written article. CHECK OUT THIS BAND!!

anyone in the mississippi region come see them in oxford