December 18, 2005
BY SARAH FONTENELLE
I was exhausted Sunday but torn by my loyalty to a friend who insisted I see Ian Moore at the Circle Bar, a choice he assured I would not regret. Despite my desire to stay home, I fought my drowsiness and headed to Le Cirque, where I magically regained my long missing second-wind. There I found Ian Moore and his fellow musicians, trumpeter Fernando and trumpeter/vibraphonist/keyboardist Kullen Fuchs. They were ready to perform with musical passion to spare.
The Circle Bar was full of patrons who were, for the most part, engaged by the music, and even those who continued to chatter during the show were abruptly silenced by Ian's ability to command attention with his unwaveringly melodramatic voice. It chilled me to the bone. The small concert room was comfortably full and ambient as Ian and his bandmates hypnotized the audience with a solid musical performance.
The first thing I noticed is that Ian has a sensitive ear for great music and melody. He also has a strong voice to deliver it. He utilized his vocal range and was unafraid to incorporate, not just words and melodies, but also creative sounds giving his music an added edge. His voice is almost theatrical, and David Terrell stated, "His voice is beautifully melancholic and changes to give goosebumps," upon Moore's unexpected note changes into the falsetto range. His lyrics are personal and his introduction of inspiration before each song indicated a real relationship with his music and his audience. With standout lines such as, "We were twins when we were younger but she changed," Moore was obviously a poet as well as a musician.
Back-up musician Fuchs, who utilized a violin bow to get a sharper sound out of the vibraphone, added modest accompaniment with additional accordion and trumpet. The man playing a trumpet painted white was Fernando. Fernando made several appearances and added to the intense horn heraldy.
The prologue to many of the songs consistently reminded me of Matt Pond PA. Fellow music lover David(mentioned above) quickly chastized that as being too derivative of a comparison. While this may be true, I don't know from what it derives, so i will stick to my measure of likeness, since most of the songs were introduced with soft acoustic guitar
progressions that gradually built up to instrument-laden passionistas. The sounds of underlying acoustic guitar were dressed up with Ian's simple kick drum beats, which came at unexpected moments. Also adding color were soft to sharp vibraphonic sprees and popping trumpet sounds. The color and the core, Moore, smoothly blended to create an integral
The musicians did whatever it took to get the sound they strived for. Their discipline for perfection was evident through the held gazes between Ian and Fuchs at the end of practically every song, as they nodded in tandem and carefully played the last note on each respective instrument. In addition, at one point during a particular song, Fuchs and Fernando turned their backs to the audience to deliver a muffled trumpet sound, only to turn back and aid in the climax of the song with hard-hitting, sometimes dirgy, heavy sounds. They were haunting and all too familiar and at home in the broken city of New Orleans.
Once I met my opportunity to speak to the artists, my only plea was this: "Do not go back to Austin." In my opinion, and no offense to the city of Austin and those who reside there, but Ian Moore and his gaggle of musicians have too much soul for that place. However, if they must go, I'll handle the woe and wait patiently 'til they have another NOLA show. Come back soon!