I know where I will be this Saturday at 3:00pm (5/23 Memorial Day weekend). Right in front of the main stage at Dark Star Orchestra Jubilee in Thornville, OH, photographing and then dancing to Moonalice. Having seen them recently at Ardmore Music Hall, I can say that this band is on top of their game, but that’s not a surprise, as they have been putting out consistently good music since their debut in 2007. They’ve had five million downloads of their single “It’s 4:20 Somewhere,” and a recent short film by Jay Blakesberg and Alex Fischer called “420 Gathering of the Tribe” about their posters and poster artists. They produce a poster for every show, and they are amazing.
While listening to the opening band at Ardmore, I was checking out the equipment they brought to this relatively small venue. They had their own professional lighting; four stanchions each holding four lighting units, and the front two also each held two professional video cameras. They had their own sound mixer (the board and the person), at least one guitar tech to keep the dozen or so guitars on racks at the ready. Equipment doesn’t make a band, but Moonalice’s commitment to producing and archiving great music extends from their talent, through preparation and execution, to the publication of the posters and videos.
So who are these guys? John Molo, drums and vocals, Barry Sless on lead and pedal steel guitar, and bass. Pete Sears on Bass, Keyboards, Guitar and vocals. These are household names that represent almost a hundred years of playing music, including stints with: Bruce Hornsby, John Fogerty, Phil Lesh & Friends, The Other Ones, David Nelson Band, Kingfish, Rod Stewart, Jefferson Starship, Jerry Garcia, Hot Tuna, John Lee Hooker and more. The band is fronted by Roger McNamee on Rhythm Guitar, Vocals, and Bass and he pulls it together nicely. They also have Steve Parish on the team – Grateful Deal crew for 26 years!
So how about the music? Well, they’re a solid jamband that play mostly originals with some great covers thrown in. You can listen to their music at their website to get a taste of it, or just trust me – get to DSO Jubilee, and check out Moonalice Saturday at three!