Posted: October 15, 2014 by Soda in Atlanta, Moonwater
Moonwater-Invitation Album Cover

Moonwater-Invitation Album Cover

Artist/Album review
Artist: Moonwater
Album: Invitation
Release: 1995-Masquerade Recordings
Danny Whitt-Vocals & Percussion
Joe Gardner-Guitars, Vocals, & Percussion
Christian Nesbella (AKA Adam Matthews)-Bass
Jeremy Slotin-Drums & Percussion

In 1995 I was a young kid not yet old enough to even get into a lot of shows to see my favorite bands. Fake IDs, copied birth certificates, rub on tattoos were all examples of things that got me into these shows. And lucky for me a place called The Roxy in Huntington on Long Island didn’t really care who they let in, so this night in particular was easy.

I walked into The Roxy that night dressed in black, rocking a Pantera shirt wearing plastic star-shaped glasses with the lenses poked out, my long nappy hair in full swing fully expecting to finally see one of my favorite bands Saigon Kick who were currently supporting their latest record “Devil In The Details”.

I was not quite sure who was playing when I walked in, nor did I know who was about to come on stage. Some time passed and I was at my usual spot, front and center of the stage when walked out this tall and skinny delicious creature in skin tight pants with a monstrous floppy hat on and a crushed velvet shirt holding a bass almost hanging down to his knees. I was instantly intrigued, my friend Steph even said to me “These look like your kinda freaky people.” And they indeed were. Next came a half naked beautiful skinny little monster with bright orange hair full of piercings stopping in the middle of the stage, behind him sat what I thought was just a giant head of hair on a drum throne, and stage left was a thrifty, striped tight wearing guitarist lingering in the shadows. Moonwater started their set with a trippy sonic offering and once Danny Whitt opened his mouth I was almost convinced that he was a she. Bending gender and genre Moonwater offered up one of the most original sounds and performances I’ve ever seen, and it left its mark on me. Not knowing them or the music at the time they sent me into a seizure of joy. Upon completing their set I had swiftly fallen in love. My friend Sindee and I both ran backstage immediately. In the process I ripped a poster off the wall which still remains hanging in my home to date.

Backstage we had the honor to meet the whole band…I remember almost attacking Jeremy as he was breaking down his gear. Christian stole my friends purple lipstick and Danny was a mystical presence. Joe, although quiet was equally sweet and graceful as the whole band. I bought their record, “Invitation” which has gone on to be one of my absolute favorites and we were given some stickers as well. Not only was I there for one of my favorite bands but I now had a new one to obsess over, and I did just that.

Almost 20 years later I have the honor of being friends with most of the guys. Danny is now in the army, Christian (now going by birth name, Adam) lives in Knoxville in a wicked apartment clothed in leopard print and rock n’ roll still playing Bass regularly and Jeremy plays in a few cover bands…and as far as I know Joe still plays guitar but has laid kind of low.

As for “Invitation”. It’s an album that stood on its own years ago and remains completely fresh today, a beautifully produced record that cannot be pigeon-holed. It’s Alternative, It’s Rock, its Psychedelic…It’s Moonwater.

The album opens with a creepy instrumental followed by the first proper track entitled “Straight” which highlights instantly Danny’s gender bending vocals and the unique instrumentation of the band. “Straight” is followed by one of the most stand out tracks on the record, “He’s A Girl.” Which lets you know this band is not putting on an act…they are exactly who they are, open-minded cosmic hippies from the future! The whole record oozes a vibe that preaches individuality. As the final track on the record will tell you…”My friends I am alive.” Indeed they were. Hailing from Atlanta GA they worked hard to get “Invitation” heard. And for the lucky ones it was, loud and clear.

A record that I indeed call perfect, overflowing with wah-wah guitar splendor and a sexy bass tone that would rival Duff McKagan’s. Drum styling from a guy who says “I wasn’t playing that long when I made that record” would just shock you, and one of the most original vocalists going at the time…and maybe even still today.

I could truly write an essay on my love for this band and the offerings they have shared. I hope that those who may read this will hop on Amazon and spend the few bucks it would cost to make this record part of their collection because it truly transcends genre and music fanatics will appreciate the magic that went into making it.

(This article was originally published in Vellum Magazine Issue 11 May 2013 – Paper and digital version available through magcloud:

Vellum 11

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