Moon Hooch

by Alexander Mansfield

A trio consisting of a drummer and two saxophones players may sound like the most trivial musical group in history, but it’s not every day you see one of those huffing down a traffic cone. Moon Hooch are quite the opposite of trivial, and are in my opinion one of the most exciting and novel jazz bands around today. The establishment breaking band were rewarded with a Jools Holland appearance alongside James Blake and Tame Impala back in May, making it their Exeter performance this September, as part of their Red Sky tour, an incredible opportunity for any music fan.

Moon Hooch forcibly drags its jazzy origins almost to the distances of heavy punk-metal, producing what is by far the most emotive and mosh-able form of jazz ever played - otherwise known as ‘Cave Music’. Moon Hooch first existed as a busking experiment in a Brooklyn subway, but with increasing notoriety have since matured their already dubsteppy sound with the incorporation of proper synthesizers, the occasional vocal feature and further adoption of electronic dance music. As described by the band: “it’s like house but it’s more wild, more jagged, more free, more natural to live in.”

Phoenix is normally accustomed to the smooth charms of electro-swing brought by the popular event Itchy Feet. Though there are small elements of this exercised throughout Moon Hooch’s music, they are very much short lived thanks to the dirty, disorientating drops and manic squealing riffs of the sax. This jazztronica genre is grittier, heavier and a more aggressive cousin to electro-swing, although I would strongly encourage fans accustomed to Itchy Feet to broaden their sonic horizons to the explosive pioneers that are Moon Hooch.

Whether you crave an animalistic, bombastic performance, want to appreciate some top musicianship or just want to try something new, Moon Hooch’s Thursday performance at Phoenix promises to leave you with a sonic scar that you will boast about to your friends for much of the foreseeable future.