Performances from indie group Moon Taxi and pop icon JoJo turned Centennial Center into a high-energy dance floor the night of Feb. 15, as the well-known artists gave an electric show.
Prior to the concert, Moon Taxi’s five members stopped by to give a short meet-and-greet to a small group of GC students. Their friendliness and excitement was contagious throughout the room as they casually chatted and took photos with everyone, including SGA president Amelia Lord.
The band came off as a group not held together by albums, but genuine friendship. They joked with one another throughout the interview, laughing when they recognized the song on the speaker playing behind them.
“Is this Jay Ferguson?” said lead singer Trevor Turndrup, turning to the bluetooth speaker. “Turn this up!”
Their personalities harmonized with one another, mirroring the band’s diverse stage presence and exclusive sound.
“I think each individual member has unique influences, so we try to encourage that and bring those elements into the songwriting process,” Turndrup said. “That’s why it’s kind of hard to define our sound.”
Though the group was cautious to not speak specifics on a consensus of musical influences, they performed three classic rock covers during their later performance, beginning with a solo performance of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” by drummer Tyler Ritter.
They also performed a mashup of two Queen covers, starting with “We Will Rock You” which transitioned into the iconic rock hit “Bohemian Rhapsody” as the rest of the band came back onto the stage.
The British rock group was honorably represented in Moon Taxi’s magnetic covers as the distinguished Queen coat-of-arms logo displayed in vibrant red on the stage screen.
As the concert neared the end, the crowd grew smaller in size, but the energy never ceased among those who were devoted to stay through the end.
The band never lost its focus, always drawing performance energy from whoever’s in the crowd, no matter the size.
“You know if we’re playing for 10 people, but they’re going crazy, that’s always fun,” said bass player Tommy Putnam. “And then a giant room of people that are just stoic is a little tough.”
At the end of the show, the crowd chanted for an encore, so the group quickly grabbed their instruments and hopped back on stage for two final songs.
They saved the best for last, playing their most popular hit “Two High” and the older, yet similarly well-known “Mercury.” The two songs highlighted the band’s transformation of sound since their start in 2007.
“The songwriting has gotten better and more thoughtful, and the production has gotten better as well,” Turndrup said.
Performing, writing and producing all circle back to their personal lives as the band climbs the ranks in the industry.
“We’re a little older, a little wiser,” Putnam said. “We’ve met a lot more people and read a few more books.”
Their success since their first performance at GC in 2015 was also not forgotten. Turndrup spoke to the crowd towards the end of the show calling their 2015 performance at GC, “one of the most influential shows of our lives.”
Moon Taxi’s humility and originality in their personal nature, stage presence and musical achievement make them worthy of playing every foreseeable homecoming show.
JoJo, on the other hand, brought the sassy, diva-like stage presence necessary for the contrast in her edgier pop genre.
She arrived fashionably late to her sound-check but came in ready to go, all glammed up with false eyelashes, platinum hair and black Doc-Martens. Her manager took charge of the meet-and-greet, allowing everyone a single photo with the singer.
JoJo hugged each of her meet-and-greeters, smiling and asking their names, complementing some on their outfits as well.
Before her recent 2018 album, she took a gap in her singing career from 2006 to 2015. The topic seemed either too triggering or too lengthy for her to discuss as she reverted from going into detail.
“In 2006, I put out my second album, and then I sued my record label because they...yeah this is all on the internet, baby girl,” JoJo said. “Legally, they owned my voice, and I couldn’t put anything out, so I spent a lot of time and money trying to just be free from it.”
Her throwback fans appreciated her performance of her original hits.
“I felt my middle school self come alive,” said Lexie Reed, a mass communication student. “Eight-year-old me was living for it.”
JoJo’s image as a child-star has provided a measure of difficulty for her return and ability to reimage her new music. However, she said she has no plans to end her musical career.
“My future plans are to get back to LA after the show and get right back into the studio and start working on a new album,” JoJo said.
Her eagerness to provide new music is clear, though she is in no real rush to put a timeline on a new album.
“Only God knows,” JoJo said.
*Clarification from Jonathan Meyer: “The impression of the article is that the delay was a direct result of JoJo and her team arriving late to their soundcheck, but in actuality, the delays began earlier in the day with some equipment issues. These issues, coupled with Moon Taxi exceeding their allotted time for soundcheck, pushed back JoJo's soundcheck time and, subsequently, Champagne Lane's.”
Photos by Emily Bryant | Digital Media Editor