Thursday, August 25, 2011
Last year’s West End Celebration featured internationally renowned Mexi-Cali outfit Los Lobos. This year, the names – which include Southern rockers Truth & Salvage Co. (Saturday at 2:30pm), folkster Jackie Greene (Saturday at 4pm) and jam band extraordinaire Moonalice (Sunday at 3:30pm) – are just as big. And there’s more of them than ever before.
Moonalice guitarist/singer Roger McNamee says his band of seasoned musicians abides by the philosophy that “live music should be a communal experience where the listeners and musicians feed and derive inspiration from each other.”
“We encourage creativity around our shows and people contributing their energy to the scene,” he adds.
Moonalice, originally spawned from the San Francisco band Flying Other Brothers, was the brainchild of master producer T. Bone Burnett.
“[Burnett] wanted to make a roots album in the old San Francisco style and he encouraged us to put together an all-star band for it,” McNamee says. “We learned a hard lesson with that [self-titled] album: It’s a work of art, but it became obvious months before it was released that nobody cared.”
So in the spirit of bands like the Grateful Dead and Phish, Moonalice decided to focus most of its attention on live shows, which are all available for free on the Internet.
“Ever since, the band has been on a roll,” McNamee says. “Because our music is out there for free, most people come to our shows knowing something about Moonalice. We don’t worry about [making money] because we are making people happy and having lots of fun.”
In the process, Moonalice has been making a brand name for itself with a portfolio of poster art that McNamee says may eventually pay for everything they do, which is to continue touring and performing shows that embody the spirit of youth and music.
MOONALICE plays 3:30pm Sunday, Aug. 28, on the Main Stage at the West End Celebration, Sand City. Free. www.westendcelebration.com. For more on the West End music lineup, see p. 39.