Laguna Beach their Liverpool?
I’m not much of a groupie. I haven’t followed the music scene, either locally or further afield. But that changed last year when I got the idea that the South Laguna Community Garden Park should have a rock concert to raise money to buy the garden property. I naively thought that we could get someone really famous to play; we would make big bucks and buy the garden. A snap!
What came out of that was a smaller but a very lovely fundraiser at the Ranch with three local musical groups. The headliner was the Moon Police, comprised of vocalists, pianists and songwriters Sasha Evans and Grace Freeman, violinist Doug Miller, drummer and multi-instrumentalist Brent Samson and base player Shane Anderson. I fell in love with their music. Creative, sensitive, not a genre; they are unique, most of all a joy to listen to. And a joy to experience since they clearly love performing and creating their original compositions together.
After that I sought out every Moon Police performance. I was becoming a groupie after all! Just last week they held forth in the Congregational Church sanctuary for a full concert. Chatting at intermission, I told my friend Bob Borthwick I was going to write an article about the band and the suggested title. Knowing as little as I do, I wondered if I was taking it too far, comparing them to the most famous group of the 20th century. Roger McErlane made me feel less uncertain when he mentioned that my enthusiasm was shared by a “real professional musician from New York,” a Tony-nominated songwriter who was seated next to him.
I had to know, “Are they really good, or is it just me?” Through Roger, who contacted friend Kathy Jones, I was able to get in touch with Jerry Silverstein, the songwriter, who was happy to answer my question. “They are as good as you think they are,” he reinforced. “They could stand up in any venue they’re playing in. They’re special, unique, an interesting blend. Take the McGarrigles with a hint of Kurt Weill, add a pinch of Django Rheinhardt, the King George character from ‘Hamilton’ and a smattering of the Beatles and you have a Moon Police musical stew.”
“What impressed me about the group besides their skilled musicianship was their eclectic combination of musical maturity and exuberance. Their harmonies were beautiful and funky at the same time and Doug tied it all together with great jazz violin improvisation. Add to this some quirky and heartfelt lyrics and the Moon Police were truly engaging.
The fact that they play all original material is golden.”
Now I imagine you are thinking, “How can I experience this amazing band?” We’re hoping there’ll be another concert soon. But until then their album, “The Lost Go Sailing By,” is available on iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Google Play. Or you can pick up a CD. Contact Doug at 497-4035 or through the Moon Police Facebook page.
What would I wish for this group? That they be recognized and appreciated, supporting themselves with their music; that they know how much they are getting through to their audiences; that they continue to have a cradle of creativity in their musical companionship; and that their freshness and spontaneity live forever.
Landscape architect Ann Christoph is a former council member.