Moon Hooch

The reaction is instantaneous. It doesn't even matter when they're the opening act no one in the room has heard before -- as soon as Moon Hooch starts playing, it's as if the room becomes a living, surging, pulsing thing. They call it "cave music": like house music, but more primitive and jagged and raw. But there are no DJs or manufactured beats here -- just one drum kit and two saxophones.

Moon Hooch -- saxophonists Mike Wilbur and Wenzl McGowen, and drummer James Muschler -- met while all three were students at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City. They found in each other a similar drive to work hard, practice, and create new, unusual sounds with their instruments. They first played in the summer of 2010, busking in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Later that summer, the band set up to play on the L train subway platform at Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. Above ground and a few blocks way, Modest Mouse was playing a concert at the Williamsburg Waterfront, which was rained out just a few songs in; hundreds of hungry music fans flooded the subway and stumbled upon Moon Hooch -- initiating an impromptu underground rave, along with a habit of having their platform parties shut down by the police. (They've since been banned from playing in the Bedford station by a weary NYPD. Fortunately, there are plenty of other, friendlier stations... for now.)

The "cave music" sound developed around an organic approach to playing electronic dance music. The looping, frenetic sax melodies and James's furious drumming are fierce and trance-like, as Mike and Wenzl rock back and forth, pushing and pulling each other from across the stage. Sometimes Wenzl switches over to a contrabass clarinet, or inserts a long cardboard tube into the bell of his sax to create the deep, throbbing womp of a dubstep bassline. It's manic, and thrilling, and perhaps a little bit evil.

One time, someone hollered at them between songs, "What are you called?" The trio didn't have a name yet, but Mike blurted out "MOON JUICE!" It seemed like a good fit, until they Googled the name and found a number of other bands were already using it, so a few minutes of thesaurus-diving yielded a suitable synonym for "juice," and Moon Hooch was born.

They recorded their self-titled debut album at The Bunker Studio in Brooklyn in the space of one 24-hour period. Their fanatical rehearsal regimen and hours-long busking sessions had prepared them well; most of the 13 songs were recorded in a single take.

After several months of busking on New York City subway platforms, Moon Hooch was spotted by former Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty, who was so taken with them that he invited them to open his national tour. That immediacy that served them so well in the underground translated nicely to rock club stages, as Moon Hooch began building a fan base across the country. Early in the tour, the band asked an audience in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, if anyone had a floor they could crash on; the couple who offered their house joked that the band's music would make a great alarm clock. Well, the Hooch abides: at 9 AM the next morning, Moon Hooch was set up in their living room, and brought them dancing down the stairs to greet the day. (Lest you think this apocryphal, the whole thing's on YouTube.)

The band continued to play shows above ground, including gigs supporting Galactic and a CMJ showcase with the Soul Rebels and Maceo Parker, and U.S. tours supporting Lotus and They Might Be Giants. In the summer of 2013, Moon Hooch will graduate from busking at the ferry dock during New York's Governor's Ball Music Festival to playing the festival itself. And their album, heretofore only available from the hand of a band member at gig, will finally get wider distribution when it's re-released by Hornblow/Palmetto Records in June, with a new song added for good measure.

By organifying electronic music, by producing synthetic sounds with acoustic musical machines, Moon Hooch creates hope that anything synthetic can be replaced with something organic.

Generating a well-deserved buzz in NYC’s exploding afrobeat scene, Zongo Junction electrifies dance floors wherever they perform. The Village Voice describes their live show as “Sheer energy with the force of a tractor-trailer that roars with power and noise.” With five horns, and a six-piece rhythm section, audiences can’t help but move no matter where the band is playing.

If the Talking Heads produced a Fela Kuti record of Sun Ra’s music, the product would probably sound something like Brooklyn’s Zongo Junction, and in an industry where it has become commonplace to watch bands perform with laptops & backing tracks instead of live musicians, Zongo Junction takes the stage 11 strong. "The only thing Zongo Junction has to do to start a legitimate dance party is show up and plug in – anyone within a square block earshot of this Ford-tough funk factory would be hard pressed not to join in the hoopla” says the Bay Area’s SF Station.

Zongo Junction formed in 2009, when drummer and California native, Charles Ferguson, returned from a six-month stay in Ghana, West Africa. “Growing up in the Bay Area, I was exposed to a lot of amazing music from many different cultures, a lot of which had roots in West Africa. As a kid, a few different music teachers introduced me to afrobeat, and the pioneers of the genre—Fela Kuti, Tony Allen, OJ Ekemode, Sunny Ade and others. My love of African music brought me to Ghana in 2008 and when I returned to New York, I knew I wanted to start this band.”

In college at the New School, Charles and a classmate put together a list of friends who they thought would be good fits for the band. Soon after they started rehearsing, Zongo Junction began performing and developing a following in East Coast clubs. They made their first album, Thieves! (2010), which included a collaboration with longtime Fela Kuti band member, Leon Kaleta Ligan-Majek, and quickly began performing at venues & festivals around the country including a residency at Brooklyn Bowl, a main stage performance at the Bear Creek Music & Arts Festival in Florida, and an appearance at the Kennedy Center in DC. More recently the band has collaborated with FELA! cast member Abena Koomson. Members of the band have performed or recorded with TV On The Radio, Man Man, Easy Star All-Stars and The Walkmen, among others.

The band is hard at work recording their second album, scheduled for release in 2013. “In writing this music as a collective, a lot of really cool new influences have emerged,” points out tenor saxophonist Adam Schatz. The music on the album embraces the individual members’ interests, from Dirty Projectors, to Albert Ayler, Wu Tang to Meshuggah. At the music’s core, you will always find the infectiously danceable West African grooves that are the foundation of Zongo Junction. The band effortlessly ties it all together, resulting in a unique version of afrobeat.

For more information visit www.zongojunction.net or contact zongojunction@gmail.com

Zongo Junction is:
David Lizmi - Bass
Charles Ferguson - Drums
Morgan Greenstreet - Percussion
Jordan Hyde - Guitar
Ross Edwards - Keys
Adam Schatz - Tenor Saxophone
Matt Nelson - Tenor Saxophone
Jonah Parzen-Johnson - Baritone Saxophone
Aaron Rockers - Trumpet
Kevin Moehringer - Trombone

Tickets Available at the Door

$10 day of show, CASH only, tickets at the door!

Lanes will not be available until 8pm.

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Brooklyn Bowl

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Moon Hooch with Zongo Junction, Limited Bowling Lane Availability Until 8:00 PM

Thursday, September 26 · Doors 6:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM at Brooklyn Bowl

Tickets Available at the Door