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Moonalice Live in Felton

Moonalice, a jam band led by tech investor Roger McNamee, pulled into Don Quixote's in Felton last week for a great evening of psychadelic rockin' blues and laid-back grooves.  The band includes all-star musicians GE Smith on lead guitar, Pete Sears on keyboards, Barry Sless on guitar & pedal steel, Jimmy Sanchez on drums, Ann McNamee on vocals and pretty much anyone anytime playing bass. 

In the year and a half since I last saw Moonalice at Moe's Alley in Santa Cruz, the band has improved tremendously.  As Roger "Chubby Wombat" told me, they've now done 150 gigs as a band and it shows.  The setlist has evolved to have a better flow, the vocals were more controlled, songs have been reworked, heck, even the lighting system has been upgraded! 

The band kicked off on-time at 8:00 pm with a cover of Canned Heat's "On the Road Again" sung by Ann McNamee.  This was followed by GE Smith singing "Down the Road a Piece" which included some great guitar work.  Other songs included a mix of covers and original songs by all of the band members including "Up in the Clouds," "Empire State," the romantically trippy "Happy Endings," "Fair to Even Odds," a cover of the motorcycle manifesto "'52 Vincent," and a unique arrangement of "Whiter Shade of Pale," that blew me away. 

While the words were immediately familiar, Moonalice did this song in a frenetic style that brought a new sense of urgency.  I don't know if this was T-Bone Burnett's hand at play, but it was one of the highlights of the evening.   They wrapped up the first set with "Tell Me It's Okay" including an extended pschadelic jam that showed off some mighty-fine Jerry Garcia inspired guitar work by Barry Sless.  I could have sworn there were lasers going on during this song, but maybe it was just the ambiance. 

After a break, the band came back with another full set including classic songs "Somebody to Love," "Nick of Time," "Like a Rolling Stone" (always a favorite) and "Stella Blue."  They finished off with a Dead-tribute version of "Goin' Down the Road," which has got to be a theme song for the band as they prepare for a US tour that takes them through the South in February and back in the west in March.


I've posted photos on PicasaWeb and a few videos on YouTube.  That said, I don' t know that video quite captures the magic this band has when they get on stage in front of an audience.   You can also download music from their site.  But I think this is a band that you have to see live to really appreciate.  It was a night of uplifting musical vibrations, great memories and even a few select readings from the book of Moonalice. 

 

Comments

Great video! I would definitely see them if they came to South Florida. Its an impressive band. I really like Sless and wish they featured him a bit more. I do think for McNamee to achieve his goal of being a profitable band, they will need to create something more unique.

Barry is quite prominent in the band, especially on some of the extended jams. But unfortunately, his area of the stage wasn't well lit and I don't think I captured much of his playing in the videos.

They are touring in Jacksonville and Tampa in February, but maybe you can suggest a venue further south that would be suitable on their forum.

Best of luck

--Zack

Thanks for the video. I wish I could have seen this show. I saw them a couple of times live, and they are truly amazing. Their music is soo good, I keep blasting their newest record. I love Portland Woman

Great! This piece shown in the video was definitely not their best but I still I won't miss watching it. I'm surprised how the cameraman were able to get the best audio considering the venue.

Thanks. The Canon G9 does great for concert audio, far better than you would expect with a camera of this size.

--Zack

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