Live At the Cathedral
Moon Hooch – saxophonists Mike Wilbur and Wenzl McGowen along with drummer James Muschler – began their career playing on New York City subway platforms and released their self-titled debut album in 2013. This was followed by This Is Cave Music in 2014 and the brilliant Red Sky from 2016. The sound these three create is unworldly and frantic, largely instrumental and extremely high energy. Think Morphine on a coffee jag to start.
And they ain’t playing Brooklyn subways for spare change anymore, either. Live at the Cathedral documents their appearance at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City in 2015 on 2 cds and a full show DVD. They aren’t the first to play St. Johns – world music icon Paul Winter has held his “Summer Solstice Celebration” there for 22 years, and while the Winter Consort event is full of sublime moments framed by Winter’s soprano sax, ya can’t dance to it. I daresay you couldn’t stand still when Moon Hooch lays their incredibly funky sound down.
Opening with “Psychotubes”, they hit the ground running, their mix of low-down baritone sax along with the relentless drumming of Muschler echoing up the seven stories of the Cathedral. To watch the DVD, with the lasers of the band illuminating the solemn edifice of the 120 year old church is somewhat mindblowing, with Moon Hooch transforming one of the oldest churches in America into a sweaty dance club after midnight. The 21 cuts here – from “Alien Invasion” to fan favorite “Oil Sipper” are a mix of dance music, James Chance-influenced No Wave and straight up funk.
A heavenly sound indeed.
Here’s “No. 6/No.9” from Live at the Cathedral: