Moon Honey, Navvi & Fruit Juice
August 8, 2105 @ Neumos
By Frida Ray
Saturday, August 8 was one of those nights you go see a show because the band names are so damn good. You’re just hopeful the sounds live up to their monikers’.
My needs were met when Fruit Juice, a band of self-proclaimed “eccentric-pop” rockers from Olympia, took the stage. Not only do their songs feel like a cool, tasty glass of fruit juice, but the band must spend more money on glitter than any group I’ve seen in a decade. I liked the group’s music when I saw them perform roughly two years ago, but they have evolved by leaps and bounds since then. Jake McCaffray and Quillian Fennessy have perfected their catchy and harmonic vocal pop hooks; Gabriel Stranahan’s bass lines are jaunty and infectious; and the arrangements are tight, fun and always get even the stuffiest Seattleite to tap their toes. Topping it all off, new drummer Ron Plaja glues the project together with a relaxed and inspired set of beats that have greater depth and fluidity than the band’s earlier incarnation. He also smiles more than any drummer I’ve seen of late; it’s excellent to watch him have fun.
When Kristin Henry begins to sing I always want a blanket, a cocktail and someone to snuggle up with and this was no exception. Sandwiched between two psychedelic glam pop bands, NAVVI were like a dark and dreary marshmallow cream pillow of goodness. I soon came down off of my bouncy Fruit Juice high and let go into the flow of the duo’s downtempo drone.
Moon Honey was exactly as their name suggests. If the moon had honey, this is what it would be: sticky sweet, psychedelic, fast moving and available in a rainbow of colors.
Jessica Ramsey, the group’s frontwoman, took the stage in an all-white tunic with a multi-colored embroidered patch down the front of her smock reminiscent of Eastern European traditional clothing and a crazy headdress with a similarly Eastern block vibe. She introduced the band to the audience and a swirling projection began enveloping the stage, casting images across her white outfit and a projection screen behind the band. The visuals were akin to a mushroom-laced, 60’s inspired arcade game. The music: doubly so.
I must admit, they sounded more like they were from some Nordic hinterland than from the Baton Rouge, Louisiana they hail from. With a guitar player who pranced like a wild rooster on a bed of hot coals as he played to Ramsey’s cupcake sweet voice, I was left with the impression that if Queen and Coco Rosie had babies, this is how they’d sound straight out of the shoot. It’s not an original vocal pattern by any means, but the music needs her to keep it up to counterbalance what the band refers to as their “Magik Rock.” I’d have to say I agree.
Lead photo is Moon Honey live in Los Angeles by Robert Mahony.