Review: Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra with Soap Box Duo at New Moon Folk Club

Last night the New Moon Folk Club kicked off the 2016–17 season with Victoria’s Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra and the local Soap Box Duo. Also known as, Alexander and Jenesa MacMullin, the Soap Box Duo entertained with songs rooted in their personal experience and shared snippets of their life before TMO took the stage.

I first started hearing about Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra in the early 2010s while living in Victoria, but I never managed to get out to hear them play. Fast forward a few years and through a series of missed opportunities by autumn 2015 I’d only managed to hear OQO (a TMO side project) at a house concert in Edmonton (a particularly memorable event as the host’s shirt caught on fire when he got a bit too close to a candle). Decidedly different from hearing OQO’s set in a cozy living room, last night the New Moon Folk Club was packed—the tables were all full and rows of chairs filled the far edge of the hall—with around 350 fans for TMO’s performance. Beginning with some songs from their 2012 release Follow my Lead, Lead me to Follow TMO shifted into some tunes off their more recent 2015 album Love.

In his introduction and welcome to the season Joseph Duperreault the New Moon artistic director described his own experience of first hearing TMO live in terms of losing track of time, and indeed his description had merit. Ian Griffiths (accordion/synth) or Mack Shields (violin) would often play a riff or two between songs that acted as connective tissue between the tunes. For me TMO’s performance was akin to driving thrimg_1455ough a series of small towns that are practically connected (think New England). Each town has its own quirks, but somewhere along the drive you’ve been distracted by the scenery and now you are no longer sure which town you are in or if it is two or three away from your starting point. Like an unexpected journey through a series of small towns, TMO’s show had the audience winding up in an unforeseen locale. A sizable dance group formed at stage right, while the rest of the audience joined together as TMO’s latest backing choir. The musical journey guided by TMO will continue with an EP expected in the spring of 2017 that they were recording tracks for in Olds, AB last week.

The start of the New Moon Folk Club season coincided with a black moon (the second new moon in a calendar month) a lunar event that happens only every year or so, luckily the next musical event (Birds of Chicago) isn’t as rare of an occurrence happening in two weeks on October 14th. Remember that the doors open at 6:30pm (a half hour earlier than previously) so you can have perogies and cabbage rolls for your evening meal rather than as a late night snack.

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