The Moonlandingz at Whelan’s, Dublin, 24 March 2017
The Moonlandingz have their hearts in the right place. On one hand, they sound like a visitation from some alternate dimension where psychedelic rock crossbred with glam and disco and became the dominant form of pop music. On another level, they’re committed to fixing, just a little, all the problems of music in this dimension. If guitar music really is dead, as we keep getting told, then how the hell do you explain an act as stupidly original as this?
In one attempt to set right some of this world’s problems, the Moonlandingz elected to choose all-female acts as support for the tour – a fuck you to both a dismally male dominated industry and the people who talk about the imbalance, but don’t actually do anything to right it.
And so, local up-and-coming noisemakers Vulpynes open the show. The fiery two-piece blast things into life with their fearsomely grungy sound. After that the London-based Goat Girl take things down into a slow and scuzzy, doomier vibe with long drawn out droning riffs. It’s possible that the Moonlandingz soundness in support choice is already making waves, since Goat Girl have their name on the first Electric Picnic lineup announcement. Go see them.
The between act changeover happens quickly. To the sounds of carnivalesque instrumental album tack Theme from Valhalla Dale, Johnny Rocket (the new alter ego of Fat White Family frontman Lias Saoudi) emerges shirtless and wrapped in cling film. The singer has already established himself as a force of wild energy to rival a Stooges-era Iggy of Nick Cave in his Birthday Party days, but in his new guise as Johnny Rocket, he somehow seems to have taken this energy up yet another notch.
Rocket/Saoudi prances around the stage as he roars and yelps his way through Black Hans and Sweet Saturn Mine. He alternates between hanging out of his fellow band members (even going so far as to grinding up against one of their legs at one point) to diving out into the audience and crawling around the stage on his hands and knees. It’s absurdly relentless, a parody of the hyperactive frontman that comes full circle into an unashamedly great performance.
As a band who’ve just today released their debut album, it could be considered a bit lacking in forethought to drop your only two singles as the second and third songs in your set. Where do you go from there? The answer, in the Moonlandingz case, is to somehow maintain the full uninterrupted intensity of their opening for the entirety of their set, scarcely even relenting for single breath between songs. Needless to say, the audience is with them all the way.
Even The Strangle of Anna, a mellow number on the album that borrows its sound from the Velvet Underground’s Sunday Morning, erupts onstage into a sumptuous, uproarious singalong. There are no quiet moments here, no delicate parts to make the loud bits seems even louder by contrast.
Somehow this doesn’t even matter. Such is the energy of the set that it feels like it’s over before it’s even really begun. The Moonlandingz manage to get through most of the tracks on Interplanetary Class Classics, plus non-album tracks like the jaunty and punkish Drop It Fauntleroy.
There is no encore. The whole set blazed with an energy some bands reserve for the final couple of songs after they return to the stage. More bands like the Moonladingz would surely be a good thing, but I don’t think we could take a gig like this every week.