Too Many Zooz & Moon Taxi @ Neptune in Seattle, WA
Review & Photography by: Jordan Pickett
I discovered Too Many Zooz years ago during a trip down a rabbit hole of Youtube links and suggested videos. The brass band trio formed as a busking group in the New York subway in 2014, and is now on tour across the country. Having played baritone saxophone myself for seven years, Leo Pellegrino’s ability to elevate the instrument beyond what I ever thought possible really speaks to me. His effortless growls and overtones are punctuated by brazen dance moves, similar to those you would expect a guitar-wielding frontman of a rock band to bust out across a stage. The intoxicating energy of their performance carries through better on the stage than it has any right to. Leo’s ability to vocalize through the instrument and achieve piercingly high octaves on the baritone saxophone, supplemented by Matt Doe’s staccato trumpet accents, grounded by a racing backbeat laid down by David Parks on his one-man band style custom instrument, results in a self-defined “brass house” performance that’s as loud and in your face as it is addictingly energizing. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a crowd at The Neptune as energized as the crowd witnessing the Too Many Zooz spectacle that night.
Stepping outside my realm of familiarity, Moon Taxi then took the stage. Moon Taxi, a five piece indie-alt rock band out of Tennessee, commanded a stage presence rivalling that which Too Many Zooz had just held, but in an entirely different genre. Where Too Many Zooz shook the house with fanatic beats, Moon Taxi’s sound wraps around you as it fills the space with guitar arpeggios and smooth beats. Moon Taxi displayed the compelling depth of their discography, from the feel-good, upbeat rhythm on Morocco to the shimmering chorus and Passenger-esque vocals on their newest single Two High. The gentle vibrato of frontman Trevor Terndrup’s voice forms around lyrics of hope, of love, and of remembrance. The instrumentals of each song gradually build and crescendo in such a manner that it’s almost unnoticeable until you realize the next song is already beginning. Every track is it’s own idea unified by the band’s unique musical identity. Moon Taxi’s lyrics fit perfectly between verbosity and the new era of over-simplification. Beautiful stage lighting and periodic usage of strobes help to captivate the audience and envelop them in the story painted by each song. Moon Taxi happily occupies a space between blissfully hopeful summer indie tunes and engaging alt-rock jams.