By Ross Wilson // Contributing Writer
As a rock group with roots firmly in the jam-band tradition, Nashville-based Moon Taxi has made a name for itself locally through improvisational and eclectic live performances.
Considering the quintet’s success on the festival circuit and multiple nationwide tours, though, the secret has long been out.
Responsible for alternative radio hits such as “Morocco” and “Mercury,” Moon Taxi will be playing close to home at the 14th annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival just outside Manchester, Tenn.
The group is set to perform at 5:30 p.m. Friday, June 12, on Bonnaroo’s Which Stage.
“It was the first music festival I ever attended,” lead singer Trevor Terndrup recalls. “I was 18 when I went to the first-ever Bonnaroo (in 2002), and I thought at the time, ‘I don’t ever want to go home.’ In a sense, I didn’t.”
A decade later, in 2012, Terndrup returned to Bonnaroo for Moon Taxi’s festival debut.
“It instantly put us on people’s radar,” Terndrup explains in a recent interview. “We can’t wait for the next opportunity to really turn some heads.”
Moon Taxi’s studio album efforts feature a range of sounds, including the Southern rock, jam-focused vibe of 2007’s “Melodica” and the band’s pop rock and folk-influenced album from 2013, “Mountains Beaches Cities.”
“We like to throw in diverse elements when recording,” Terndrup says. “I think that makes it hard for people to put us in one camp or another.”
“All Day All Night,” the band’s first single from its upcoming fall album, has an upbeat, acoustic vibe that differs from previous efforts. Terndrup says the band’s foundations continue live on stage.
“I prefer playing live most of the time,” Terndrup says. “It suits my impulsive personality better, and I like to get caught up in the moment.”
As a Bonnaroo veteran, Terndrup has advice for bands playing the festival for the first time.
“Drink lots of coconut water,” he says, “and bring a bandana for the dust.”
Moon Taxi will be playing at Bonnaroo’s Which Stage on Friday at 5:30 p.m.
To see our full archive of Bonnaroo coverage, click here.