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Moonalice : High 5
|Out Of The Blue
Publications Association, LLC
Today, Moonalice release their newest full length studio endeavour titled High 5 in conjunction with an event
dedicated towards social change in California. While this event is also acting as the band’s CD release party, it will
primarily surround an effort to motivate voters to vote towards Proposition 64 involving the legalization of recreational
uses of Marijuana that will raise millions in tax revenue for use in the struggling economy of California. While the band
is listed as a headlining act, they are much in the supporting roll of community members like Steve DeAngelo, who will
be answering questions about and promoting the proposition that will be voted on the Nov. 8 California ballot.
More information about the event is at the bottom of this review.
In 2007 Moonalice was created by legendary producer T Bone Burnett as an attempt to create a band with a 1960’s
San Francisco sound. Currently the band is comprised of band members Roger McNamee (rhythm, lead guitar, and
vocals), Pete Sears (bass, guitar, keyboards, and vocals), Barry Sless (lead guitar, pedal steel guitar, and bass), and
John Molo (drums and vocals) who have an impressive combined resume of previous musical experience. Together
the four members boast participation with Flying Other Brothers, Jefferson Starship, Phil Lesh & Friends, Hot Tuna,
Rod Stewart, Bruce Hornsby & the Range, John Fogerty, and many more. For the last 10 years, Moonalice has been
touring regularly throughout the United States and Canada playing largely original music with extended jams in which
the band moves as one throughout a range of genres capitalizing on the incredible range of skill offered by the four
High 5 was recorded and mixed by Dave Way, four time Grammy award winner, of Waystation recording studio.
Audibly, from start to finish this album is designed and engineered with the force of many years of experience and
talent, from musicians to engineer. Visually, the album design uses the talents of Stanley Mouse, notable for his
1960's psychedelic concert poster designs and album art for the Grateful Dead and Journey. What we are given is
a very well-rounded and thought out experience from music to design, and it relates heavily on the tradition's present
in San Francisco during the 60s, a time when folk was transformed into rock and roll.
The album kicks things off with an upbeat track sung by Roger McNamee called "Live a Little." with lyrics about
challenging old habits and trying out something new for a change. Kind of a 'teach old dog new tricks' kind of song,
because why spend all your time doing the same things. Musically it immediately made me think of The String Cheese
Incident. Roger McNamee and Bill Nershi of String Cheese have a similar vocal treatment and range. "Summer Love"
follows with a love story written by Pete Sear about a “trip to San Francisco in 1969 and falling in love with my wife,
Jeannette.” Those aware of the psychedelic rock band Ekoostik Hookah here in the Midwest will appreciate this track
musically, because it brings to mind thoughts of lead guitarist Steve Sweeney and the band during the mid-90s to
Appropriately, this track is followed by a song about love called "You." “Do I do for you what you do for me?” John
Molo really gets cranking on drums towards an energetic climax of the song that snaps in like Joe Russo double times
moments in jams. Themes shift from love towards honor, as the band presents listeners with a song written for the
road crew, titled "unsung Heroes and states," “we’re all in debt to the unsung heros of blood and sweat.” For a touring
band, these are the guys that keep everything moving from state to state, show to show, and are largely invisible.
Many themes are explored in the presentation of this album. Change, finding love, love itself, and honor are explored
in the above examples while, life, priorities, and time find there way onto the list in the second half of the album.
"Brother Can You Spare A Dime" is a bluesy parlor track written for the men and women who put everything into the
labor of their lives and still need a dime from an old friend to get by. This track is followed by a Bob Dylan, Quinn the
Eskimo-esk style number called "Lady Of The Highlands." High 5 is a wonderfully high energy instrumental track that
John Molo states as being “written by my good friend Barry Sless... Inspired by Joe Morello and Dave Brubeck's
original Take 5.” There are a lot of moments in this song that the musicians communicate with each other through
their instruments and it is clear to me that this is a hot track in a live setting. It also holds a lot of Grateful Dead style
interactions between bass and lead guitar. And again, I think of Ekoostik Hookah’s treatment of psychedelic rock.
Paradise is “...about growing old and trying to keep things in perspective and what’s important... Chorus “Pages turn,
as we grow old, who can say how the story unfolds…” Keeping in mind is what’s important in life...keep an eye on
those things as we go into the twilight years. Sounds depressing, but it’s not really…it’s a blessing to still be around,”
says Pete Sears. We are left with a final track about time, life, and the future titled, "I Can’t Help But Wonder (Where
I’m Bound)." While this track could be related to personal life and trajectory, it also has a sense of the political world
that is currently flooding our preoccupation.
As a whole High 5 is an impressive album that sticks to the long standing tradition of folk as it transformed into rock
and roll and the psychedelic sound of the west coast in the 60s. It pulls from an extensive range of musical
experiences and influences such as Bob Dylan, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna, and many others of that
era. This album is definitely a good listen that I will be sharing with my family and friends. High 5 to a High 5 album!
CONCERT EVENT DETAILS: Moonalice Prop 64 Awareness - Get Out the Vote Concert
Steve DeAngelo with Harborside (nation’s largest licensed pot dispensary, which serves 108,000 patients in
Oakland, Calif.) will be answering questions as the opening act.
Lorin Rowan will be sitting in and other very special guests.
Every guest will get a rock poster by Alexandra Fischer commemorating the event and they’ll also get a great many
Sweetwater Music Hall
21 Corte Madera Avenue
Mill Valley, CA 94941
Thursday, November 3, 2016
Doors: 7 p.m. Show: 7:30 p.m.
Ticket Link: http://ticketf.ly/2epgfHg