I hadn’t heard of Lo Moon until about a month ago, but after giving them a listen, it was clear that their sound was the perfect match for the serenity I felt while cruising down 55 West on the way to their show on Friday night. It was calming evening, mid-sunset on the cusp of springtime (or so we keep hoping), and while marinating in my own good vibes, I was eager to arrive at Turf Club in hopes that those emotions would be only be amplified once Lo Moon took the stage.
I arrived about an hour before the opening band was set to play, and gravitated towards the front of the building. Turf Club was welcoming, like that small town local bar that you’ve grown to love over the years simply because everyone you’ve ever known has loved it too.
Covering the stage, a screen showing old classic Mickey Mouse cartoons played. Like, the really old, racist kind, with the horribly inaccurate depictions of Native Americans and such – you know the type. But I guess that made sense, since Turf Club calls itself the “best remnant of the 40’s.” Despite it all, I could appreciate the historical accuracy, at least.
I’m not entirely sure who I envisioned as being fans of Lo Moon, but as the bar began to fill, the demographic proved itself to be a lot older than I had anticipated. I laughed to myself while a middle-aged gentleman pointed out Lo Moon’s frontman as he walked past us before the show. The man then turned to his friend and bragged about them following each other on Twitter. I took solace in knowing that you can still be starstruck at any age by a member of any band, no matter how big or how small.
I took notice of how strange it was to see people taking all the seats that surrounded the stage instead of flooding the floor in front. Maybe that’s a part of being a more mature fan. Maybe I’m just getting old.
5 minutes until showtime I found myself stressing as I looked at the stage and saw that it still had all the equipment for both bands on it. We’re talking two big drum kits piled nearly on top of each other. At that point, I was doubtful of them being able to pull it off in time. Where was the stage crew? The sound check? What was the plan?
The soundboard guy sat, arms-crossed and smiling, at the back of the venue. He wasn’t half as concerned as I seemed to be. Maybe he knew something I didn’t.
As it turned out, they ended up keeping the entire setup in its cramped and jumbled mess as Brooklyn based opening band, Kraus , took the stage a little after 9pm. They handled the claustrophobic environment well, as if they didn’t notice. But I noticed for them and suffered in sympathy accordingly.
The first thing Kraus did after announcing their presence was point out that they had provided earplugs in various places throughout the venue, which I thought was a considerate and kind gesture.
They started with both members drumming rapidly though their first few songs. I loved the immediate energy they provided, however, I was a little disappointed they didn’t do a soundcheck, because I would have really liked to hear what they were singing along with what they were playing.
After several tracks, they stood up and switched places, and one of them picked up a guitar. I loved the versatility they brought to their performance with what seemed like such a small and effortless shift on their part.
Kraus kept a high energy thorough their time on stage. However, their closer was definitely the strongest aspect of their setlist. It had a fantastic riff in the middle of it that had me, along with many others, grooving. All in all, I’d really like to see these guys grow. With a little more attention they could be even more fun to see play in the future.
After they concluded their act, the front of the stage quickly became a hot spot. Eager fans began to swarm the closer it got to Lo Moon’s start time.
When I first gave them a listen I definitely liked what I heard, but I feel like Lo Moon is one of those bands that you don’t really love until you get to see them live, and that is definitely a good thing. There’s nothing more disappointing than being excited to see a live performance and have it fall short of your expectations, and there’s nothing better than when a live performance unexpectedly blows you away.
Once they arrived on stage, Lo Moon immediately kicked off the night with “This Is It,” the first song off of their first full-length, self-titled album. I quickly felt myself entirely submerged in their sound.
One of the most noteworthy aspects of Lo Moon’s music is what frontman, Matt Lowell, contributes with his vocals. His sound is both beautifully haunting and hauntingly beautiful. Low Moon is one of those bands that can make you feel reflective, empowered, and alive at all once.
Listening to Lo Moon feels almost like you’re in a deep trance in the middle of a rainforest. This is like lay-on-your-bed, stare-into-nothingness, just-soak-in-all-the-sounds-that-are-being-provided-for-you type of music. Hearing what they can do live felt much more like a spiritual experience than it did an indie rock concert.
What I love about being interested in bands that are newer, is that a smaller discography makes for them being able to play more of it! A setlist with less to draw from ensures a set list with more songs one is excited to hear. This was exactly the case with Lo Moon, as they played a great deal off of their self-titled album, including “Thorns,” “My Money,” and “Real Love.”
Their stage was lit by a consistent and deep relaxing purple hue that aided Lo Moon in providing a space filled with serenity throughout the entire night. I like to pay attention to what colors bands choose to reflect their songs, and I thought that this particular shade was perfect for them.
Before leading into their closing song, “Loveless,” Lowell proudly proclaimed, “We will be back despite the cold!” And though we’re all ready for warm weather as we near mid-April (with a depleting sense of hope) I’m hoping their promise to return, regardless of the temperature, holds true.
Be sure to prepare for their next stop in the Twin Cities by listening to their discography here.