Lost Lake is in Bloom this spring

Moonlight Bloom and friends play Lost Lake Lounge

Denver-based psychedelic rock trio Moonlight Bloom describes themselves as “experimental live improvisation in a style that hints at blues, jazz, rock and beyond.” Citing Jimi Hendrix as a primary influence, their sound reflects the early inception of psychedelic rock from the 1960s.

Lost Lake’s dark, woodsy aesthetic complemented the mystical improvisational sound of Moonlight Bloom. Their most recent EP, Walking Trees, was released in 2017 and features both long musical soliloquies and brief interludes. This energetic irregularity extends into their live performances, allowing the audience to move through each note with anticipation alongside the band itself.

While the overall performance by each act of the evening was enjoyable when judged individually, the overall cohesiveness of the evening was lacking. Moonlight Bloom is trippy and fluid; their fellow headliner, Kind Hearted Strangers, presented a more mellow and indie sound. The opening acts were even more distant: a dad-like country band, The ThreadBarons, and an ambiguously upbeat group, Hunter James & The Titanic. Each act provided a unique and enjoyable performance, but the odd mélange of sound felt disjointed.

Moonlight Bloom borrows their brand of psychedelia from the 60s. Photo courtesy of Ali Jay

As with many small shows, the audience ebbed and flowed. As the night went on, the small, older crowd gave way to a booming horde of young adults, mirroring the progression of music played. But the music felt secondary, like background noise to the tipsy and fluctuating crowd. There was little substantive interaction, aside from a periodic slew of cheers and applause.

Though much of their music is heavily based in instrumentation, the live performance featured vocals from lead guitarist Charlie Harmon and bassist Dan Timmers. The duo appeared almost indistinguishable from one another, each donning long brown hair, matching the 60s hippie vibe of their music. Moonlight Bloom’s ethereal tones evoke a deep sense of reflection and spirituality, though their sound ranges from chaotic to tranquil in just moments. The meditative dynamism of each song creates the perfect backdrop to a sunny afternoon on a campus lawn, soaking up sunshine and focusing on each harmony.

“Whisper,” the group’s most popular song, may only be a few minutes when recorded, but the improvisational performance lengthened it significantly. Timmers’ bass slowly introduced the relaxed ska song, which was then joined by Harmon’s guitar riffs. Harmon’s vocals are an amalgamation of country twang and smooth alternative, suiting their avant-garde, eclectic, and mystifying tone. Harmon stepped back, seemingly controlled by the strings of his electric guitar, riffing and ad-libbing impulsively, each tone seamlessly flowing together. The crowd, full of dazed and drinking millennials, whistled and whooped.

Moonlight Bloom’s uniquely unpredictable performance stood out from the rest, passionately encapsulating a diverse range of improvised sound that would suit any member of the audience, from middle-aged Dead Head to contemporary underground music fan. Their wide range of influence synthesizes an eclectically psychedelic vibe based in instrumental flairs. Their focus was not just playing music: it was experiencing music.

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