Moon Taxi returns to Druid City for the third August in a rowBy Ellen Johnson and Katie Huff | 08/28/2017 9:12am
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
For 13 years, 1307 University Blvd. was home to Jupiter bar, a live music venue that hosted acts like Perpetual Groove and Eric Church throughout the aughts. Current UA seniors and anyone else who was in town before August 2015 may remember the Jupiter marquee, which remained on display outside the deserted venue located in the heart of the Strip long after its closing in November 2014. On Aug. 26, 2015, Druid City Music Hall officially opened its doors in the old Jupiter location, with bands Moon Taxi and The Lonely Biscuits playing the first concert.
Two years later, Moon Taxi played Druid City for the third consecutive year. And for the second year, they played a two night stint at the venue. For two nights the Nashville band rocked almost-sold-out crowds. Because Moon Taxi was one of the first two bands to play Druid City ever, the return to Alabama was a warm one.
“You can’t really keep us away from Alabama,” said lead singer Trevor Terndrup. “We feel pulled back home to our roots and there’s just a great feeling to play when school first starts.”
The band, which includes lead vocalist and guitarist Terndrup along with guitarist Spencer Thomson, bassist Tommy Putnam, keyboardist Wes Bailey and drummer Tyler Ritter, has a special connection to Alabama. The group formed in Nashville, but Terndrup and Putnam are both Alabama natives. They both attended high school in Vestavia Hills, a suburb of Birmingham.
Moon Taxi, along with Friday opener Big Something and Saturday openers Riverbend and Sun Seeker, treated crowds of just-back-in-town students and local music fans to two nights of jamming. The band released a new single, “Two High” in May. They performed the song both nights, with many audience members singing along to the now-familiar summer tune.
“We just put out ‘Two High,’ our new single, and we wanted to play it for the people, so we had to come back to T-town to do it,” Terndrup said.
The single has more than 40 million streams on Spotify and was featured on one of the streaming platform’s most popular playlists, “Today’s Top Hits,” earlier in the summer.
“The reaction was unprecedented,” Terndrup said of the single. “A lot of people have heard it around the world and I think that just speaks to the lyrical content and the time that it came out and really resonated with people. We’re just happy that it’s doing so well.”
Along with “Two High,” Moon Taxi played some of their older songs like “Run Right Back,” “All Day All Night” and “Morocco,” which have all remained popular with their fanbase. During “Morocco,” Terndrup sent the audience for a literal loop when he turned tricks on a hoverboard while singing.
They played some other new material, including a yet-to-be-released track called “Moving to the City,” which channeled a heavier rock sound.
Covers are also always an important aspect of Moon Taxi shows, which are very audience-centric. In the past they’ve offered renditions of classics like “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” and “All Along the Watchtower,” as well as more modern music by artists like 21 Pilots. In this weekend’s performances, they touched on Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” and cranked out a lively “Hotel California.”
“We just did ‘Hotel California’ by The Eagles, which is a lot of fun because we’re all big classic rock fans,” Terndrup said.
In the past Moon Taxi has played venues large and small. Many upperclassmen at UA have probably seen the band at Druid City at least once, and maybe even at the Kappa Alpha or Phi Kappa Psi houses, where they have played shows before. While fraternity houses are often considered novice venues, Terndrup said the group isn’t above playing another college event.
“That’s kind of how we got our start, so I’m not opposed to it,” Terndrup said.
However, the band is in demand at venues, festivals and concerts far beyond campuses. In recent years, Moon Taxi has played on “Conan” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers.” Their music has been featured on commercials, including an all-day McDonalds breakfast commercial (the song was, appropriately, “All Day All Night). They’ve played festivals like Hangout, Shaky Knees and Okeechobee.
“Two High” has pushed Moon Taxi into a new level of musical fame. With new music on the way, they’re hoping to expand their touring schedule internationally.
“Because ‘Two High’ has done so well internationally, we’re talking about going abroad for the first time,” Terndrup said. “The Two High tour continues, just internationally, but we’ll still love Alabama.”