Friday, August 19, 2022

Moonlight Towers Illuminate Proud Larry’s Tonight with Hartle Road, Captain Magma

Moonlight Towers hit Oxford at Proud Larry's tonight on their tour of the southeast. Photo by Chris Smith,
Moonlight Towers hits Oxford tonight at Proud Larry’s on their tour of the southeast.
Photo by Chris Smith

Moonlight Towers will be roaring into town to play Proud Larry’s tonight as part of a whirlwind tour of the Southeast that, by all accounts, is sure to satisfy.

Their show at the Hi-Tone in Memphis Wednesday night has been heralded as one of the best shows at the venue in years. Moonlight Towers will be hitting Larry’s stage tonight with Hartle Road from Columbus, along with fresh-to-the-scene Oxford local band Captain Magma as supporting acts.

Photo by Cory Llewellyn and Cameron Russell,
Photo by Cory Llewellyn and Cameron Russell,

The Austin-based Moonlight Towers were recently named by the Houston Press as one of “10 Texas Bands That Don’t Get Enough Credit.” The band has been a staple of the Austin live music scene for more than 15 years. It seems like everybody outside the mainstream music world has known about these guys for years, yet the general public is just now beginning to take notice. But as far back as 2011, they were getting recognition by musicians already very well-established: Steven Van Zandt, well-known to the older generation as Bruce Springsteen’s lead guitarist and to the younger ones as his on-screen character, Silvio Dante, on the HBO Original Television Series The Sopranos, named The Moonlight Towers’ song, “Heat Lightning” (from Day Is The New Night – released on the Chicken Ranch Records label in 2011) as one of the “coolest songs in the world.” That same year, the Austin Chronicle described the band’s music as, “rock-solid bar room pop salvation songs that bypass the moment in favor of something that will never go completely out of style.”

Hartle Road performs tonight with Moonlight Towers and Captain Magma. / Photo by Alec Hawkins
Hartle Road performs tonight with Moonlight Towers and Captain Magma.
Photo by Alec Hawkins

I spoke with the band last night regarding the origin of their band name. Being a huge fan of the classic cult film, “Dazed And Confused,” and knowing that the film was set and filmed in Austin, I was hoping that the name had something to do with the movie. It does, in a roundabout way. Moontowers were a type of lighting system originally invented in the late 1800’s to illuminate city areas at night. Austin is famous for having the most original moontowers from that time period still standing and in use. At the time the film is set—the mid-seventies, there were many moontowers in use, so I am sure that it is one of these “moontowers” that “Wooderson,” McConaughey’s character in the film, is referring to when he says, “…party at the Moontower.” The band said that this is not the case. But wouldn’t it be a lot cooler if it was?

Music News Nashville published a piece just yesterday describing Moonlight Towers’ Heartbeat Overdrive, released in late 2014, as being on the “one you might have missed” list from 2014. They also report that, “in response to Heartbeat Overdrive becoming an instant top seller at local Austin institution Waterloo Records, the Moonlight Towers’ label Chicken Ranch Records has pressed up an LP edition of the album, including a limited 180-gram white vinyl limited to 100 copies. While the wax won’t hit stores nationally until March, both the white vinyl and standard black vinyl versions are available via the Chicken Ranch Records website, local Austin retailers, and will be sold by the band on tour.” The album was also given the title of one of Austin’s “Best Local Releases of 2014.”

Captain Magma / Photo by Sean Kaufman
Captain Magma
Photo by Sean Kaufman

Hartle Road is a band that called Holly Springs their home for a while, and now have their home base in Columbus, MS. To quote directly from the band’s description of themselves, they are “from the demented mind of the Magnolia State, sounding somewhat like ‘Head era Monkees’ mixed with pre-disco Bee-Gees from some Podunk town you’ve never heard of, while also falling somewhere between the music you heard in your head while receiving your first kiss or your first whipping.” That speaks for itself, and makes me really want to hear what that sounds like.

Captain Magma is a new band on the local Oxford music scene who won “Honorable Mention” in the “Favorite New Band” category of The Local Voice’s Townie’s Favorites of 2014. With bands such as And The Echo, The Heard and Bella Machine taking the top three spots in that category (in that order), it is quite an honor for Captain Magma to be included with such good company.

Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are on sale for $5 in advance and $7 at the door. See you there!

Suanne Strider is a contributor and can be reached at

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