Photos by Asia Morris.
What started in a garage in 2009 has grown to become a dynamic up-and-coming band, one which played to a packed house at Fingerprints Friday evening. Two lines crowded almost the entirety of the 4th St. sidewalk between Elm and Linden Ave., to the point where two of the DLBA’s downtown safety guides were questioning Fingerprints’ capacity to house everyone.
The Moderates, who will soon be pressing their first full-length record, played each of the songs on their self-released EP “Colour,” produced with the help of Grammy-nominated sound engineer James Krausse and of which diehard fans and attendees sang every word of every verse. Josh Taylor, Wes Mathison and Garret Huff are all in their early 20s, yet play like a band that that has been working together from adolescence into their late 40s.
It’s difficult to describe their sound, which ranges from the gritty, wailing guitar ballads found in alternative rock to a sometimes-flouncy, upbeat indie-pop vibe. Taylor’s voice has a jazzy quality, a kind of quick-witted softness paired with a set of lungs harboring the strength of a trumpet player. He sings each drawn-out lyric with a devoted fervor, belting verses with perfect diction and a gritty, confident, growling attitude.
Several of the songs hang heavy with lyrics that are poetic, that combat any agist or sexist belief that a young man couldn’t have experienced or contemplated such depth, angst or loss found in “Inescapable You” or “Black and White.” Then there's “Strange Town” or “Coma,” to bring you right back, dancing wildly without inhibition.
The Moderates have no typical hierarchy, so to speak, the kind where the lead singer stands out to be fawned over, while the rest of his or her bandmates enjoy (or resent) their quieter lives. Taylor, Mathison and Huff displayed Friday night that they’re each integral and irreplaceable facets of their overall alternative sound. Huff hammers on the drums like a madman with only his uncanny sense of rhythm to save him, while Mathison exudes a stable strength on the bass that seems to balance out Taylor’s fiery energy on the mic, guitar and keyboard.
Those who attended the Friday evening show seemed like they knew the band personally, as Taylor spoke lightheartedly to the excited audience about tacos and movies, subject matter only an adoring group of locals, family and friends could be so enthused about. Those not privy to the inside jokes, perhaps hearing The Moderates for the first time, stood smiling and nodding their heads to the music near the back of the crowd. This talented trio make up a musical entity that is surely destined for success, or at the least, a future that sets them far apart from the local scene they grew up in.
For upcoming shows and more information you can view the band’s website here. To listen to The Moderates’ self-released EP Colour, you can visit their Soundcloud here or search The Moderates on Spotify.