Goon Moon and Sun Trash brought desert rock to the city by the bay this Sunday. The southern fried psychedelic stoner rock warmed up the otherwise drafty venue, reverberating the walls with its special kind of lyrics, such as Sun Trash’s ‘Sour Cream’ and Goon Moon’s ‘Mashed Potatoes and Cream’. It was the kind of show that was for the real music lover- one that scratches below the surface of being a fan of the band, and follows the musicians that make it tick.
Sun Trash is, first and foremost, and excellent band name. This six piece ensemble contains members with names like Lightnin Woodcock, Sexual Chocolate, and, of course, Captain Sean Doe. The look is sailors and pirates marooned on a rock ‘n’ roll dude ranch island. Sean Wheeler (Captain Sean Doe) has been around the Palm Desert Rock scene for what I can only imagine is ages, fronting previous/simultaneous bands such as Throw Rag and Charley Horse. I can only describe his voice, which is full of character/not quite so easy on the ears, as Tom Waits meets David Lee Roth. There’s a Flying V guitar, a tambourine, a slide guitar, and songs entitled ‘Unicorn Shave Your Horn’. Needless to say, they are lots of fun to watch. Rather than feeling pulled in a bunch of different directions by the genre mixing, I enjoyed the progression from song to song that led the crowd through punk, rockabilly, country, and psychedelic rock. They projected a sense of really wanting to be up there, having a good time doing what they do without an aire of pretentiousness.
So, how does one find out about a band like Goon Moon? Either you are a fan of Chris Goss and Masters of Reality, and/or you are a fan of Jeordie White, former bassist for HRC faves Marilyn Manson, A Perfect Circle, and Nine Inch Nails. I would expect that there were more present in the crowd that were fans of the latter, as members of the Gotheratti were lined up quite early. Hopefully they had heard the music beforehand, because Goon Moon is quite a departure from what you would initially expect from White. It’s much more like Goss’ previous work. The beauty of side project bands is that you can see what these artists are really made of. They are removed from the pigeonhole of ‘bassist/back up vocals’ to ‘writer/bassist/guitarist/vocals/tambourine man’. And this is when you can truly evaluate their merits as a musician.
Goon Moon is bathed in red and blue lights and a haze of incense emanating from a large bronze pot which is initially placed by White’s post. It has to be moved after the first song because its impossible to inhale that and sing. They pulled off an hour plus set with minimal talking, mesmerizing the audience with their fantastic songs. It’s not perfect music- not the shiny polished industrial pop that we’ve seen from White before- but it is genuine and impassioned. The song themes tend to revolve around love and loss, ranging from modest to slightly vengeful. Highlights including ‘Sleep With A Gun’, ‘Autumn That Came Too Soon’, ‘I Know Where You Live’, and ‘Feel Like This’. And who could forget the cover of ‘The Dope Show’, the song that highlighted White’s bass skills, which seemed to reflect his, what I have heard are, not so kind feeling towards Manson.
I can only describe the feeling of leaving the Goon Moon show as similar to that of when I saw Tom Morello’s The Nightwatchman– I’m lucky that I follow the musicians that I love.
Watch my montage from the show: