Moon Hooch — an energetic trio with genre-bending music — is performing a free show Wed., June 3, at 7 p.m. at Windmill Park in Orange City.
When Orange City Arts members heard locals buzzing about the band’s unique sound — two souped-up saxophones and a drum — they knew they had to see if they’d perform for the Onstage Orange City series.
Steve Mahr, co-owner of The Old Factory, became entranced with the band’s wailing sax and staccato snare after watching them perform in NPR’s popular Tiny Desk Concert series.
“I’m not sure what others’ responses are, seeing a wild man blowing the sax with a traffic cone as a mute – but mine was love at first sight,” Mahr said.
His enthusiasm for the “cave music” band spread to Janine Calsbeek, director of Orange City Arts, who reached out to the band’s reps.
To her surprise, Moon Hooch — comprised of saxophonists Mike Wilbur and Wenzl McGowen, and drummer James Muschler — had an open date available on their tour from Ohio to Minnesota, and were interested in making a pit stop in Iowa.
There was just one minor caveat — Orange City Arts had to drum up the funds to keep the show free. Mahr stepped in to help fundraise, and Old Factory Coffee Shop, along with Orange City’s Quatro Composites™, joined as corporate sponsors for the free outdoor event.
The concert is open to all ages, and the original, unexpected tunes are sure to wow the young — and young at heart. But to describe the band’s sound? That’s a tough one. They have an inventive style all their own — something between jazz and dubstep, with a rock-vibe for good measure.
Each band member studied in New York at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. Their stylistic choices — like using modified saxophones to create pulsing beats — creates indescribable music.
The band (which provides soundtracks for famously epic NYC subway dance parties, according to The New Yorker) describes their work “like house music, but more wild, more jagged, more free, more natural to live in.”
Moon Hooch got its start playing on subway platforms, and quickly grew a devoted fanbase that led to a national tour with They Might Be Giants, and multiple gigs on the festival circuit.
“Moon Hooch is amazing! They’re over the top,” Calsbeek said. “Very energetic and crazy. Their music is not for the faint of heart — it’s something different and I think it’ll be appealing to a lot of ages.”
Judging from previous shows, Moon Hooch’s power-packed performance promises to get audience members talking — and maybe even dancing out of their seats. Attendees are invited to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets. Concessions will be available for purchase.
“This is going to be something different,” Calsbeek says. “Orange City Arts has never had anything like Moon Hooch.”
The Orange City Town Hall is the event’s rain location. For changes related to the weather, visit orangecityarts.net or facebook.com/ocArts.
National Public Radio’s tiny desk concert: http://www.npr.org/event/music/329521706/moon-hooch-tiny-desk-concert
Wall Street Journal… Moon Hooch’s “underground” following: