By Jeff Blitt and Evan Zigmond
Having discovered TOO MANY ZOOZ in 2014 when a video of their performance in New York City’s Union square station went viral, we knew what to expect: A killer groove from the King of Sludge, coupled with screaming trumpet melodies from Matt Doe and Leo P.’s signature dancing and Bari Sax playing. However, we were still blown away by the sheer intensity of the set. The band transitioned down the setlist with no break, opting instead to allow King of Sludge to lead. He soloed beautifully in the space between tunes as the show progresses, using various auxiliary percussion instruments rigged onto a bass drum in a one-man-band fashion. After a brief interlude, King of Sludge began sweating intensely as he laid down the groove to their first big hit, “To the Top.” Leo waited patiently to come in, speaking causally with Matt, who had a drink in one hand. When it comes time, Matt ripped a high B-flat on his trumpet, drink in hand. The crowd went nuts.
Overall, TOO MANY ZOOZ has had the ability to energize an audience since 2014. Since then, they’ve managed to cultivate that raw feeling and turn it into a precise, focused act that never ceases to entertain. It should be noted that the band’s sound hasn’t really changed over the course of 3 years, so if you’re looking for anything other than a 45-minute rave with band instruments, you won’t find it here. Regardless, if one goes into a show with this fact in mind, the experience can be very satisfying.
Too Many Zooz is a band whose members feed off an audience. Matt Doe plays higher and louder than ever before, causing the crowd to cheer, and thus encourage him to play even higher and louder. It’s a cycle of musical force. Leo P. dances provocatively to elicit a reaction from the audience, and King of Sludge can adjust the volume level before the horns come in as needed to surprise listeners, and subsequently capture their attention. Too Many Zooz puts on a wonderful live show because of the way in which they work with the audience, and it is a treat to be a part of that process.
And On Thursday night (October 19th), Nashville-born indie-alt rock band Moon Taxi took the stage at the Royale. The band released their first album, Melodica, in 2007 and have been gaining traction in the alternative rock scene ever since. The five-piece band’s current lineup is Trevor Terndrup on guitar and lead vocals, Tommy Putnam on bass, Spencer Thomson on guitar, Tyler Ritter on drums, and Wes Bailey on keyboard. Their most recent release is a single entitled “Two High”, which peaked at #26 on the Billboard Rock charts.
Moon Taxi’s frontman, Trevor “Turnt-up” Terndrup, rode around the stage on a Hoverboard at one point while leading a crowd of passionate fans in singing along to the band’s second most popular song, “Morocco”. Perhaps the highlight of the night, though, was an all-out performance of the band’s hit single “Two High”, accompanied by Leo Pellegrino and Matt Doe of Too Many Zooz. The sheer energy emanating from the stage was electrifying as Doe and Pellegrino delivered brassy back-to-back solos in the middle of the song; that coupled with Moon Taxi’s ability to get the crowd dancing made the song a great experience all-around. The band stayed true to its fun and catchy style, and the fans demanded an encore at the end. If anyone was ambivalent about the band coming into Royale, they surely exited a fan.