ACL Fest 2015: Moon Taxi rage … against … the machine?

Moon Taxi are a Tennessee rock band, with a polished sound, a really bad name, and enough tricks up their sleeve to make things interesting.

For a second I wondered who would even be attracted to the Austin Ventures stage while, right next door, Run The Jewels’ was stampeding off to another banger of a set. That is, until you remember that not everyone’s into southern rap.

Moon Taxi definitely worked for these folks, and then some. In fact, it was one of the fullest Austin ventures shows I’d seen,  the crowd’s edged leaking out into the normal walking paths.

The band is pretty conventional, and lead singer Trevor Terndrup has a Maroon 5 vibe going on, but they’re also capable of hitting some poppy anthemic moments. When the first one came, their light show was going full blast, and a team of grackles in the oak tree behind the stage decided that was enough, and fled.

The tricks aren’t tricks, exactly, but little nods to the electronic age, like samples of a backup choir. Though in the quiet moments early on, it was hard not to forget the intense sound bleed coming from the jewels being run next door.

Meanwhile, a couple bearded dudes next to me launched a 2-bearded-dudes dance party and tried to recruit passers by.

This band is light, fun, and may or may not be around in 10 years, but they’re doing it for this crowd right now, at this time in their lives.

What was a little off, was their last song, a totally straight cover of Rage Against The Machine’s “Wake Up.” Surprise?

Moon Taxi’s love of RATM is well established, but it’s not a natural fit at all. They do a solid cover, but it seems so earnest that it almost comes off as comical, compared to their (fluffier) original stuff. It kind of leaves you wondering where these guys are at.

Having said that, totally ready for the Rage Against The Machine reboot.

 


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