Whether you have been one of the fans who packed the front of the stage at the first two Moontower Music Festivals for their headling sets, or you are simply an evening TV watcher, you have heard Moon Taxi.
For those wondering if Moon Taxi is the latest venture in commercial space travel, you’ve probably heard the band backing an ad for something much more terrestrial. The delicate guitar and tenor vocal of Moon Taxi’s “Two High” soundtracks a Jeep commercial featuring a red Compass plowing through deep-piled snow and traversing mountain roads most of us wouldn’t consider driving on in icy weather. The actual video for the song features sunnier weather but, maybe not coincidentally, another Jeep product.
The commercial visibility is indicative of the Nashville-based quintet’s growth this decade.
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Lexington knows all about Moon Taxi’s maturation process. The band had been regularly playing local venues before it returned as a headlining hero for those first two years of the Moontower Festival.
“We started playing Lexington really early on, when The Fishtank was still around,” Moon Taxi guitarist and Bowling Green native Spencer Thomson said before that first Moontower in 2014, referring to a late Euclid Avenue venue. “We’ve just continued to play around there.”
Now, other major fests like Bonnaroo, Coachella and Lollapalooza have caught up to Moon Taxi, but it has not left Lexington behind. The band rides back to town for a performance Friday night at Manchester Music Hall.
Listening to “Not Too Late,” one of the standout tunes on Moon Taxi’s new “Let the Music Play” album, you realize just how far this Nashville collective has come. Placing on hold many of its early jam band leanings, the group further expands the scope of recent recordings with a brightly orchestrated celebration that combines ’80s prog-pop (especially the pre-MTV music of Simple Minds) with a flair for modern melodies and textures that makes the sound quite club worthy.
Entertainment writer and editor Rich Copley contributed to this story.