Moon Boot Lover | 02.20.04 | Savannah's | Albany, NY

Moon Boot Lover is back, and better than ever!

Moon Boot Lover is the alter ego and musical ensemble of Peter Prince. If you don't know who Peter Prince is, do yourself a favor and read on, because as those who do know Peter can testify, he is truly worth the effort.

Peter Prince of Moon Boot Lover
It's not just that Peter Prince has been around, rewarding fans and the scene for over ten years now. It's also not just that some exceptional musicians cut their teeth in Moon Boot Lover then moved on to other bands (as two cats named Neil and Alan Evens did--you might have heard of them, they're in a little band called Soulive). And it's not just that Peter, the solo artist, has been around the country a couple of times sharing the stage with Tim Reynolds, guitar virtuoso and close friend of Dave Matthews. Although those are certainly amazing accomplishments that should make people take notice. But it's more than that. The reason everyone should know the name of Peter Prince is that he's a superbly unique, supremely gifted, engaging artist and entertainer who is not only an amazing guitarist and vocalist but also one of the best songwriters on the scene today. Combine that with an entertainer who gives James Brown a run for his money, and you can begin to understand why Peter Prince is a must-see artist.

So it was with great delight that I heard that Moon Boot Lover would be playing at a local favorite club, Savannah's in downtown Albany, NY. Recently, Peter had been spending his time fronting an amazing ensemble The Trauma Unit, which featured the talented Johnny Trama on guitar, along with a revolving-door lineup of musicians including Eric Kalb (Deep Banana Blackout) and Joe Russo (Benevento/Russo Duo) on drums, bassists Nate Edgar (formerly of Vitamin C and Moon Boot Lover) and John Leccese (Percy Hill, Reid Genauer) and keyboardists Nate Wilson (Percy Hill, Reid Genauer), Paul Wolstencroft (Jiggle), and Jesse Gibbon (Schleigho). Although The Trauma Unit was a super-talented group of songwriters and instrumentalists, I was definitely excited to hear and see Peter back, in true form, with his band Moon Boot Lover.

Over the years, we've seen many different versions of Moon Boot Lover; the only constant has been the talent and soulfulness of Peter. On each of Moon Boot Lover's three releases there's a different band. So on this night, as excited as I was to see Peter Prince, I was equally curious to check out the amazing musicians who would be backing him up. When the band took the small stage in this intimate club, I was pleasantly surprised to see Moon Boot Lover return to its trio roots. With just a bassist and drummer backing Peter up, it definitely left a lot of room for each of the three musicians to do their thing.

Peter Prince of Moon Boot Lover
On drums was the fury introduced as Swiss Chris. Usually when you go see a Moon Boot Lover show, your ears are listening to the entire unit, but your eyes are definitely glued to Peter. But, with the addition of Swiss Chris, fans have something else to watch. After the show I overheard Swiss Chris and Honeycreeper's drummer, El Mustango, talking about the importance of practicing your rudiments, and Swiss Chris mentioned that he tries to play drums the way Bruce Lee practiced Kung Fu. This statement is a perfect description of Swiss Chris' playing. He attacked each and every note with the same concentrated fury as Bruce Lee throwing a punch. His grooves were funky and there's a hip-hop influence that's easy to recognize. He twirled his sticks and threw in some crazy electronic sounds. At one point he ordered Peter to turn the lights down and he actually played a short but inspired drum solo with glow-in-the-dark sticks! If I didn't know better, I'd swear Swiss Chris was Peter's long, lost brother. Unfortunately, I was unable to catch the bass player's name--but that's not because he wasn't as important a part of the unit as Swiss Chris or Peter. Quite the contrary, he is a perfect foil to Peter and Chris. He was subdued in manner but held the unit together with his solid, funky, interesting bass lines, and added some choice vocal harmonies, as well. He is the glue that holds the new Moon Boot Lover together. When it's all said and done, I would have to rank the current version of Moon Boot Lover as highly or higher than any previous edition of the band. It's great to see Peter back, in his element as leader of Moon Boot Lover, with two extremely talented and perfectly matched musicians backing him up.

All the classic Moon Boot Lover songs were represented--tighter, funkier, leaner and meaner then before. The band played two blistering sets, with enough improvisation to showcase their talents on their instruments and keep things fresh and interesting. But as is characteristic with a typical Peter Prince performance, the band let the songs shine, and didn't cloud these gems with an overload of solos and nonsense. When Peter tears into a guitar solo, he does so as well or better than the best of them. But unlike many bands in the scene today, the solos and improv sections are there to serve the songs, and not the other way around. What made those great Motown and Stax-era recordings such masterpieces was the fact that they grooved and made you feel great, and the performances were always top-notch, but they also were really amazingly well-written songs. The exact same reasons those songs are great are the same reasons Peter Prince and Moon Boot Lover are not to be missed. And thankfully, the band's greatness was rewarded with a packed house, each person held in rapture with each note, each beat, each word.

So let me say it one more time, so there is absolutely no confusion:

Moon Boot Lover is backā€¦ and better than ever!!!

Alex James
JamBase | Worldwide
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[Published on: 3/9/04]

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