Suzi Moon - Live in Philadelphia (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Suzi Moon

Live in Philadelphia (2021)

Live show

Suzi Moon ended her November 5, 2021 show in Philly by slamming a glass bottle on her guitar neck until it shattered. The shards bounced across the area around her feet and then she knelt down into the glass and began to rip the strings out of her guitar. She then threw her guitar to the ground and ran through the audience screaming until she ran through the back door, out into the cold night. I mean, there’s everything a review can say right there. I could write more, but it will be redundant. I guess to maintain some sense of decorum, I’ll add more, but it’s purely an academic exercise at this point.

Since the collapse of L.A. Machina (a band name that I still can’t figure out to pronounce), Moon has been throwing all of her energy into her solo band (which I’ll add is a “band,” not a solo act, Danzig 1-4 style). She debuted with the Calls the shots EP and since then has been performing a few tactical strike shows on the East coast. The November 5 show was the group’s second time hitting the city of brotherly love. This time, the band really ramped up their approach.

At its core, the Suzi Moon band play high energy rock that walks that line between punk and radio hits. There’s a fair amount of Joan Jett here, and a lot of Distillers, a little Bikini Kill edge, and some Stooges raw power aggression. The cool thing about Suzi is that it’s difficult to pin her art down. In lieu of broadcasting one specific message, she orbits around a number of different concepts- “Godl records on the wall” is about worshipping the 70s icon through a certain Rodney on the Roq viewpoint. But, “I’m not a man” takes the “Rebel Girl” approach.

That was all there at the live show… but whereas the studio tunes has a certain musician’s finesse, live the band came to wreck it up. I liked that a lot. Everything was loud, and fast, and perfectly messy. One of my own annoyances with many of the “popular” contemporary punk bands is they sound to clean and controlled, like they are trying to make something easily adaptable to the radio or even commercials… even live that sort of cleanliness is maintained. By contrast, the Suzi Moon band trashed it out- maybe it’s a little cliché, but during the show Moon’s makeup ran and smeared across her face and it was a cool metaphor for the show. At the core, this is a band of musicians that write catchy punk/rock songs that are meant to be earworms. But live, they made it a point to burn your ears some.

“I’m not a man” found the band playing fast while Suzi jumped into the audience and grabbed people by the lapels. While she’s only, say five foot four, people took a step back. They were unsure if the uncaged animal approach was a sort of play in which they shouldn’t interfere, or a legit challenge. I was unsure, too.

The crowd jumping, crowd surfing, rolling across the floor, and getting precariously close to broken glass all have hints of Iggy. That could be performative if the music wasn’t so high energy. That being said, people at the show were already impressed with glass coming an inch or two from Suzi’s knees, so, um, let’s try not to push that envelope any more- we don’t need to actually see blood to know that it is rushing.