While Rolling Stone finally decided to declare that rock is back, The Mooney Suzuki make sure to point out that it's never gone away. Five years of touring and making music, both their album and shows are the some of the best I've experienced this year.
LA's intimate Roxy served as a couple of warm-ups for their fall tour after having taken the summer off. The gigs were less than one week apart and The Mooney Suzuki tore it up on each occasion. To my surprise (and thankfully), the first show was relatively full but not packed with the usual amount of cross-armed, LA hep cats. One week later however, the tiny venue was jammed with industry vermin and die-hard fans all shouting the praises of the rock & roll religion. What a welcome change of pace to see a band that can make these crowds clap along, scream and dance. If you've ever seen a show out here, you know what I'm talking about in the apathy department.
In James Brown fashion, lead singer Sammy James, Jr. struts out and repeatedly asks the band "What time is it?" to which they call back "Show time". Indeed. They all hold their hands up in their air proclaiming that they are "#1" and it's not far from the truth. Nothing on the stage stands still and less then 40 minutes later the crowd wandered out with exasperated looks of joy and are soaked in sweat. The Mooneys ripped through a better portion of their sorely overlooked new album Electric Sweat (did anyone on that Shortlist thing put them on the ballot???), while hitting songs from their debut and various singles. Guitarist Graham Tyler conjures up a vision of Brian Jones strutting like Mick Jagger infected by Angus Young. He leaps into the crowd without notice, drops to his knees and is back up before anyone has time to figure out where he went - never missing a note and tearing off leads. "Oh Susanna" and the new album's title track are hits - you just can't argue that OR ignore the fact that your feet and head can't be controlled.
On both nights the set list varied, as did the stage banter. A few things that don't change: their massive amount of positive energy, endless between song fast-paced chat while referring to themselves in the third person - a quality i never get bored with, and their desire to tear down any walls between themselves and the audience that supports them. On the second night, the enthusiasm resulted in the stage being completely overrun with as many crowd members as could fit on the tiny stage. Bedlam at its finest without missing a beat. The band returned for an encore and looked, for just a split second, flabbergasted at what had actually just happened.
Source: Matt Surrena. Guest Reviewer