Moon Taxi’s much anticipated show at the Jewel on Joachim met an unfortunate fate. According the Saenger Theatre website, “unforeseen circumstances” have forced this Nashville band’s Dec. 20 performance at this historic venue to be cancelled.
While another date could be announced at “a date to be determined in 2020,” ticket-holders can expect a full refund. Due to the Saenger having to remediate mold issues, Moon Taxi’s Dec. 20 show was the third rescheduled date, with the others having been Oct. 4 and Nov. 9.
But in any case, they will be returning for another stint at the 2020 Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, May 15 – 17, so fans will definitely be able to get their dose of the band there.
Moon Taxi is no stranger to the area. Trevor Terndrup (vocals, guitar) remembers the band’s debut in the Azalea City. He recalls this performance as being an “all-night thing” at the iconic venue Monsoon’s, which has since closed. With Terndrup and bassist Tommy Putman both hailing from Vestavia Hills, shows in Alabama cities are special to them.
“It’s the vibe. It’s a music town, and it’s got a lot of history,” Terndrup said. “Three-fifths of the band is from Alabama. It feels close to home. It feels like part of our root system down there.”
In recent months, the band has released three new singles. “Now’s the Time,” “This World” and “Restless” all embody Moon Taxi’s passion for creating catchy cuts that thrive from rhythmic grooves and instrumental prowess. However, two of these tracks show a heavy presence of electrified synth pop. Terndrup said this indie pop infusion was not a conscious effort during the creation process. For the members of the band, bringing new influences into the band’s sound is purely organic.
“We don’t consciously think about that,” Terndrup said. “We just continue to write good songs with a message and fun, exciting production. We didn’t have any preconceived notions. We just start making sounds and see what happens from there.”
Those who have followed Moon Taxi’s legacy know adding new musical styles into the band’s sound is to be expected. The band’s 2007 debut album, “Melodica,” is filled with jazzy, eclectic jam rock. As the band went on to release four studio albums and one live album, the members of Moon Taxi have continued to experiment. While they still maintain a love for jam, Moon Taxi’s sound has taken an eventful journey through jam and indie worlds. According to Terndrup, the band’s aural evolution is a must for Moon Taxi.
“Change is life,” Terndrup explained. “I think that you have to keep challenging yourselves as far as the studio work. We try to translate that into the live performances. I’m actually on the way to the studio right now. We spend a lot of time trying to create something new.”
As far as production duties are concerned, guitarist Spencer Thomson has remained constant while the band’s sound has morphed. From the first time the band entered the studio, Thomson has acted as producer for all of Moon Taxi’s albums. Even after signing to a major label, Thomson remained in the production chair. Terndrup recognizes that labels sometimes pair bands with certain producers in order to receive a “formulaic response” in the form of an album. So far, Terndrup said the business side of the music industry has yet to argue with the band’s decision to use Thomson. He adds that the band’s decision to continue with Thomson as producer is an effort not to tamper with a good product.
“We have the best guy for us in the band, which is really fortunate,” Terndrup explained. “A lot of people have to go out and find that person who jives with them. Spencer just has it innately. We’re really lucky to have him.”
Moon Taxi fans can expect to hear more new material in the near future. The band has already been road-testing a couple of new tracks in the live setting. Terndrup said the band does this in an effort to “tweak” the arrangements for studio tracking.
After speaking with Lagniappe, Terndrup planned to drive to Thomson’s studio in Franklin, Tennessee. At that time, the band was working on a variety of drum tracks for their yet-to-be-titled upcoming release. Part of this task will be accomplished through the construction of “computerized drums and loops,” which be filled for a “live drum” feel. For the recording phase, Terndrup said the band prefers to “break it up a little bit and do most of the writing at Spencer’s house.” As far as the progress of the new album, Terndrup said Moon Taxi is 80 percent through the recording process. At the time, Terndrup was pleased with the new studio material.
“I think it’s our best yet,” Terndrup said. “It’s a challenge to write them, and it’s a challenge to perform them. It stretches our skill sets.”
While he did not provide a specific date, Terndrup said the new album should see a release sometime in 2020. Until then, the band will have a run of tour dates through the Southeast in February and then Hangout Fest in May.
For Terndrup and the rest of the band, Moon Taxi’s continued success both in the studio and on the stage is a dream realized, especially for a band that began playing in college for the sake of music.
“We just kept to it and kept writing songs,” Terndrup said. “I think that’s why it remains very interesting for us and our fans.”
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