Concert Review: Moon Taxi at the Empire Theatre

Yes, I know it’s a cliché, but I just have to say it — Moon Taxi totally rocks!

Since forming in 2006, the quintet has relentlessly toured the country, gaining new fans wherever they perform. They’ve played on The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Seth Myers and Conan. Additionally, “The New Black,” a hit from their 2013 album, Mountains Beaches Cities, has been used in advertising for such high-profilers as HBO Sports, NFL, and MLB.

In 2015, Moon Taxi has a heavy touring schedule that continues April 1 in their hometown of Nashville, and they’re also playing at this year’s Coachella, Firefly, and Lockn Music Festivals.

Moon Taxi with vocalist Trevor Terndrup (center).

I was fortunate to catch the band on Wednesday, March 23, 2016, at San Antonio’s Empire Theatre.

That night, they gave the theater full of ardent fans exactly what they wanted from a Moon Taxi show — an evening of hard-rocking tunes interspersed with incredible (and astoundingly lengthy) instrumental breaks.

As the set progressed, the energy in the room continued to expand as more and more people left their seats to join the others rocking in front of the stage. Frankly, I found myself doing the same.

The band played a number of songs from the newest album, Daybreaker, including “Red Hot Lights,” “Year Zero,” “All Day All Night” and “Run Right Back.” They also performed favorites from some of their earlier discs as well as a couple of choice covers, one in tribute to the late, great David Bowie.

This was the first time I’d heard their stuff, and I confess that they made a convert out of me that night. I grabbed a vinyl of Daybreaker on my way out.

Others have compared Moon Taxi’s sound to that of Kings of Leon or maybe The Black Keys, but I think their blues-tinged stadium rock has a wildly unique sound of its own. Drummer Tyler Ritter (whose insane solos have to be heard to be believed) says the band admires My Morning Jacket (and man, I totally share that notion), another group known for its no-holds-barred performance style.

And vocalist Trevor Terndrup (who shares the benefit of good hair with MMJ’s Jim James) told that since the band members love Americana as well as electronic music, it’s right to try to combine them and create their own genre: “Ameritronica.”

Before Moon Taxi’s set, the crowd got ready to rock that night with two fine opening acts: Austin’s The Vanity and Nashville alt-rockers The Lonely Biscuits.

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