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Summer Moon At The Satellite, Friday September 16th 2016

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Summer Moon’s Nikolai Fraiture

 

When you get the occasion to check a new band featuring Nikolai Fraiture (The Strokes) on bass, Stephen Perkins (Jane’s Addiction) on drums, Camila Grey (Uh Huh Her) on key and vocals and Noah Harmon (The Airborne Toxic Event) on guitar, and when at the top of this, the show is free, you drop everything you are doing and run late afternoon at the Satellite, where Summer Moon was taping a special performance for Last Call with Carson Daly. Because it was an early show (6 pm), it was not that crowded, and I could easily get in, which was probably not the case for their other performance earlier this week at Bardot. They also had a slot at Petty Fest at the Henry Fonda a few days ago, which could sound a bit odd as I didn’t hear any musical connection with Tom Petty.

The Strokes are still a big deal and bassist Nikolai Fraiture is the frontman of this new outfit, whose sound has an obvious connection with the Strokes, but all the members of the Strokes seem to have their own thing right now, guitarist Nick Valensi launched his new band CRX while Julian Casablancas formed his own project (Julian Casablancas + the Voidz) in 2013 and Albert Hammond Jr. also has a solo project.

With such a line-up, Summer Moon is what we can call a super-group, but that’s actually the second line-up of the band which had already released a demo earlier this year with a completely different bunch of people. After this ‘false start’, we have now a solid band, which looked like they were in complete control of their work, despite the novelty of this affair. They have added a lightning bolt to their logo and they were already giving away free posters signed by the band and selling t-shirts at the show, despite the fact that they haven’t released a full length yet.

They played a few songs which had very interesting layered sonic textures, and all this was pure exclusivity since ‘With You Tonight’ is the only song which has been officially released, and I haven’t barely found anything else available on the web. If it is hard to write about music you have heard only once, I can say that Fraiture and Perkins formed an amazing and infectious rhythm section, and if the beats were quite dominating the songs, there also was a very funky vibe coming from Harmon’s guitar during several songs, while Fraiture’s voice was echoing a sort of darkness in the background, lost in the shoegazing dance floor… not Joy Division dark, but there was that kind of element.

‘With You Tonight’ had even a strong Talking Heads exotic coolness, and I really liked the first song they played, entitled ‘Happenin’, with a sort of the-Strokes-are-going-all-dark vibe and dance beats harmoniously meeting Fracture’s signature bass lines. ‘Softer!’… ‘Harder!’ were screaming a few people in the crowd. ‘This one is just in between’ said Nikolai, and that was exactly the case. Although they had a few more rocking songs, the music was installing a strong groove, eclectic enough to please a mid-evening LA crowd. All these songs were written when Fraiture had some time off from his duty with the Strokes, so over a rather long period of time, as Happenin’ was, for example, posted on Youtube more than a year ago. However, they were a real consistency during the 8-song set, and we can probably expect a full LP soon

Setlist
Happenin
With You Tonight
Cleopatra
Class A
Chemical
LITA
Girls On
Car

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