There’s a strange phenomenon in the Bay Area where concert-goers, more often than not, skip the opening act. As a Los Angeles native, I’m accustom to seeing most of a crowd line up before the doors even open. In Northern California, that’s rarely the case. There’s a million reasons not to skip the opening act, but last Friday at The Masonic, Lo Moon provided the simplest one: sometimes, the opener is really damn good.
Last weekend, Lo Moon, the Los Angeles-based indie newcomers, offered a short but flawless set, bringing their rich, sweeping sound to San Francisco and its opening act-averse music lover. The band, opening for French electronica duo Air, made the case that they’re worthy of the main stage in their own right, and introduced the audience the next big artist in indie music.
The walls of The Masonic – of any venue, maybe – are too confining for Lo Moon’s sprawling sound The trio’s lush, layered compositions demand space, enough to hang in the air, wrap around the listener, and leave them melting “Loveless,” the band’s debut 2016 song, was nothing short of a showstopper, played with enough soul and passion to fill a room twice the size.
The idea that Lo Moon and their music feel like something bigger than what they are is amplified by their recent formation, having only been around for a year. Listening to either of their two singles or watching them on stage, you would be excused for assuming that Lo Moon has been around for a while. Singer Matt Lowell commands the stage like an indie veteran, and “Loveless” sounds like an instant classic.
That’s not too say that Lo Moon’s sound is unoriginal. The band does grandeur in a more understated way than similar bands, and avoids falling into many overplayed indie archetypes. Not dated, but not quite forward-looking, Lo Moon makes music for the moment. The music-for-now mood provided a perfect counter to the celestial-minded, futuristic Air, the night’s main act. The space rock veterans are touring to celebrate their twenty year anniversary as a band, but their sound remains as progressive as it has been since the late 1990s. Air, as expected from a band taking a victory lap, played all the crowd-pleasers, including favorites “Venus” and “Cherry Blossom Girl” off of Talkie Walkie (2004), and “Sexy Boy” from the band’s debut album, Moon Safari (1998).
Though they occupy different genres, spaces, decades, and countries, Lo Moon and Air are practically meant to be listened to together, the former sounding like the latter’s earthbound cousin Occasionally, it’s possible to pick up on some musical similarities – the opening chords of Lo Moon’s “Loveless” are vaguely reminiscent of those of Air’s “Venus” – but the most striking part is how well the two complement each other.
There’s probably a lot of symbolism and wisdom to be found in the fact that a band with two singles to their name stole the show from a pair of musical veterans on a twenty year anniversary tour. There’s probably a message in there, somewhere, about the ephemerality of music or the birth of new artists or something profound. When all’s said and done, however, there’s one clear message from Lo Moon’s set that resonates: show up for the opening act.
Written by Jordan Aronson