Concert Reviews

Moon Duo at The Silver Dollar Room

Janis Joplin told us about the Kozmic Blues. She said that we’d know it if we had them, and that we’d know it if we didn’t, too. When I saw Moon Duo, I knew what she meant.

Moon Duo shot phaser-laden psychedelia all over The Silver Dollar Room on Thursday night, and each and every member of that audience took it on the tongue and went for the trip. From the off, a groove was established, a wave was formed, and then we were all surfing it, all together, unconsciously, to the throb of the bass line and the shrieking cry of a lead guitar. The Silver Dollar Room became the vessel, in a sense, and we all became passengers on a trip through sound via Moon Duo.

Playing behind and over top of the band were the trippiest lights, like music visualizations, that just added to the overall psychedelic feel of the show itself. But it wasn’t a show in that sense; there was no real flash, or flair. It was musicians playing music, it was a wave there for riding, it was those Kozmic Blues made tangible, and it was exactly right. 

Moon Duo could go down the road that many bands do, and write a chorus, write a hit, and be in and amongst many of the blues-inspired bands of today, but they aren’t going to. They’re going to be Moon Duo, and they’re going to take you on a ride you may never have been on before. The familiar sounds, the grinding guitar riffs, the keyboards either side of it and the churning, driving drums, it’s all building up that high. They’re taking you places. They’re doing it and you’re in it, and that’s all there is to it. The highs will get higher there, though, so be ready for it.

Singer-guitarist Ripley Johnson and keyboardist Sanae Yamada are onto something. And, with the addition of a permanent drummer in John Jeffrey, Moon Duo’s sound is only going to evolve. Check out Moon Duo’s new album, Shadow of the Sun, or the set they played on KEXP recently. Real good stuff. 

About author

Dylan is a writer from Toronto who enjoys rock and roll and comic books, and who is currently working on his debut graphic novel, The Star Child. You can catch him on Twitter @dylthewriter.