I’d like to pull from a quote from legendary music manager Jon Landau. “Tonight I saw the future of Psychedelic Funk and their names are the Moon Jellies.” Landau of course referring to rock n roll legend Bruce Springsteen in 1975. I refer to Philly’s own, new, funky slice of psychedelia, led by co-frontmen singer/guitarists Eoin Murphy and Kevin Moran. I had the privilege of attending their most recent show at the Mothership, a house venue in South Philly, with opening acts Sarah Rose and God’s Favorite TV Show.
The Moon Jellies gave new fans something to cheer about, debuting in a four-song set such future hits as “Sleepwalk” (featuring up and coming Philly Rapper Retro Hawki) and “Timeframe”. Both are set to be an upcoming EP release.
“Timeframe” led off the set. In a phone interview, Murphy revealed that this is a recently written song, begun over the holidays.
“I got the idea while messing around over winter break from school,” he says “The riff just sort of came to me and after I brought it in we just kept collaborating on it.” Due to technical difficulties at the venue the band (Eoin, Moran, bassist Kevin Segal, and drummer Derek Sattazahn) were not able to use the sample pad or keyboards which will be on the studio version.
While not having everything that night the Moon Jellies covered these deficiencies (of which most people would be unaware) with a strong performance and solid lyrics. Lyrically the band has a talent for storytelling; a keen ability to paint pictures with their words using abstract themes that took me on a journey through time and space. Artists such as the Grateful Dead, Hiatus Kayote, and the Beach Boys kept popping into my head. Nice try equipment failures.
Their set picked up steam with their third song, “Sleepwalk”. The number included a freestyle section by local rapper Retro Hawki, whose rhymes and flow were reminiscent of Lil Wayne.
The band followed this song with a crowd-pleasing piece titled “Decisions”. Murphy told me that he got the idea on a midnight walk to the Philadelphia Art Museum. “It was super peaceful staring out over the city and the idea for the riff just sort of came to me.” Although the Mothership show was the first time that song was played live it sounded as tight as if they’d been playing it for a decade.
The band ended their night with a rousing performance of “Prussian Blue Ceiling”. This final number showcased the quality and power of the harmonies between Murphy and Moran—interplay to rival a beach boys album.
Talking about the show, Murphy says, “It felt amazing to finally be in front of the fans.” Except for a gig at the Legendary Dobbs right before it had to shut it’s doors, the Mothership was one of their first shows in Philly. This show was highly anticipated, as the band had gained a base of listeners through their SoundCloud recordings well before this gig. As for the future, the Moon Jellies will be playing a fundraiser for Groove at the Grove on April 2 at God’s Favorite House with God’s Favorite Tv Show on Temple’s Campus. The aforementioned EP release is TBA and there are plans for a tour extending from Philly to West Virginia —I encourage people to donate to it and plan on attending a show once it is announced.
[The Mothership, 924 S. 12th Street] March 18, 2016; soundcloud.com/m00n-jellies.
- Birds Of Paradise
- Prussian Blue Ceiling