Trio shifts from subways to Higher Ground

One band is bringing their sound from the subways of New York City to Burlington.

Three-man band Moon Hooch is set to play Higher Ground April 22.  

The band’s live shows call for a lively dance party featuring James Muschler on drums and Mike Wilbur and Wenzel McGowen on saxophone.

Set to debut their new album, “Red Sky,” Moon Hooch will start their new tour April 14 along with band New Master Sounds. “Red Sky” will be released June 10.

“The subway has a very special place in my heart; I’ll always love the subways,” Muschler said. “The streets are where the music has meaning anyway.”

Moon Hooch, who gained popularity by starting dance parties in the subways, has been consistently on tour for the past four years, he said.

“Although the subways were unhealthy, they were a lot of fun,” Muschler said. “We did a subway show about a year ago.”

From making use of untraditional instruments to performing shirtless, Moon Hooch is exceptionally original.

“We’ve played around with cardboard tubes, traffic cones, PVC pipes, but we’ve only performed with the cardboard tubes because those sounded the best,” Muschler said. “We perform shirtless because it’s a comfort thing. We rehearse shirtless, so we perform shirtless.”

While Moon Hooch is mostly known for their saxophone sound, Muschler’s drums add a certain electricity.  

With an instructor, Muschler has been practicing an Indian drum, called the tabla, over the past few years, he said.

“I apply it to my normal drums when performing,” he said. “It gives me a new repertoire to draw from; I wanted to learn those rhythms so I could translate them into my drum set.”

The tabla is something Muschler practices almost everyday.

“It was only a few years after starting tabla that I really fell in love with it and the art form behind it,” he said. “I actually just bought a battery powered amp, so I’ll be able to play the tabla in the subway this upcoming summer.”

Moon Hooch has been to Burlington a couple of times, Muschler said.

“We love Burlington,” he said. “It’s amazing; the energies are always high and the food culture is awesome.”

Moon Hooch paraded the streets of Burlington one year after a show at Signal Kitchen.

“It was desolate, but we made it into a party running through the streets with our instruments,” Muschler said.

Moon Hooch will be performing at 7 p.m. April 22 at Higher Ground. Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door.