Live Review: Night Moves; Mapache tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:07 pm October 5, 2022
Night Moves at Reverb Lounge, Oct. 4, 2022.

by Tim McMahan,

Last night at Reverb I saw something I’ve maybe never seen at that club before — couples dancing during the performance. And for good reason.

Night Moves played a modern version of smooth FM ‘70s rock tailor-made for slow dancing. In fact, I can’t think of a better indie band to play at a high school or college homecoming if the goal is to finally make a move and ask that special someone to dance. During their set three couples did the classic arms-wrapped-around-her-shoulders slow sway. It was groovy.

The gig was the first show of their tour, no doubt in support of their just-released 4-song EP The Redaction (2022, Domino). The mid-tempo, guitar-powered rockers also featured frontman John Pelant switching over to synths on a few numbers. That Beach House vibe I picked up on the last time was long gone. Night Moves’ music has more aggressive and interesting rhythms, super-cool soaring lead guitar fills and (early in the set) full-band harmonies.

I kept thinking of music I grew up hearing on the FM, bands like Ambrosia, Gary Wright, 10cc and Jackson Browne. I don’t know if that’s cool, but I like it. Pelant has one of the best voices I’ve heard on stage in a long time, although a somewhat muddled mix made his lyrics (mostly) indecipherable. Killer track “Feel Another Day” off the EP is the perfect song for a slow skate (naturally followed by Nazareth’s “Love Hurts” or 10cc’s “I’m Not in Love”). While the band’s recordings are good, they don’t come close to their live performance.

The crowd of around 60 was surprisingly large for a Tuesday night (and a show that received zero promotion). When the band finished their set, the crowd just stood there, waiting for them to come back out, as if they didn’t know what to do to earn an encore. And sure enough after a few minutes, the lights and house music came up and the disappointed crowd slowly walked away.

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Tonight West Coast Americana band Mapache plays at Reverb Lounge. More Malibu sunset music for sure. This is being promo-ed as “An Evening with Mapache” which I guess means no opener. $15, 8 p.m.

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