Artist Profile- The Moho Collective

Artist Profile- The Moho Collective

The Moho Collective could be described simply as a three person instrumental fusion group.  That would be kind of a weak description, but fairly accurate.  At least, it would be if these three things in the band were human beings.  I, however, have my doubts about this, and that has to be mentioned right off the bat.  These beings are not people.  They were clearly constructed by some musical mad scientist in a basement somewhere purely to bend your mind out of joint and improve the overall flow of your life energy.  Utica loves this band.  Rochester loves this band.  They just wrapped an east coast tour, and I’d venture to guess every stop they made, people loved this band.

All theatrics aside, because Moho needs none of them, this is extremely thoughtful music.  It’s instrumental, so I am not saying the lyrics are thoughtful, but that the musicians are thinking the entire time they are playing.  It’s heady.  There are only three of them, and live, they will play something like 15 instruments for you.  Often more than one per person at a time.  They’ll switch it up in the middle of a song.  No, not just the tempo, the instruments they’re playing.  Kurt Johnson, the guitarist, plays a lap steel, several styles of guitars one of which is a slide, and an assortment of pedals and amp heads that’s impressive.  Justin Rister primarily plays the bass, switching between an electric and a giant upright, but also is known to shake and rattle whatever is around to contribute.  Ryan Barclay, the drummer, plays the drums, some sort of gong, controls whatever samples may be being used, and the didgeridoo.  I watched him change out cymbals on his kit while he was keeping time on the high hat.  You see what I’m saying?  Why would I lie to you?

The sound is one part shred, one part blues, a dash of meditation and chi clearing (oh, that sounding bell!), and a little chakra alignment.  It’s progressive, shamanistic trance inducing auxiliary percussion laden free jazz madness.  Just when you’re sure the floating sounds are carrying you away, Moho grounds you with a stomp of one of Johnson’s pedals and a screaming blues rift.  It’s nasty!  Every member of this band is very percussive minded.  Did I say it wasn’t normal?

So there’s all that.  Then, they sweeten the deal by  being extremely hard working and unpretentious musicians and the cherry on top is that they truly love Utica.  I know this, because they talk about it almost as much as I do.  Ok, perhaps not quite.  But last year after the fest, they penned a blog of crazy love to the 315 and the Saranac Brewery that included a vignette about the brewery tour and the beers produced.  After rocking the Green Onion Pub their first year with the fest, The Moho boys have been back every opportunity they get playing a few well loved venues.  We had them at Mardi Gras Utica (which is where they first blew my mind), they’ve been at The Other Side and Cafe Domenico, and I’m fairly sure they’ve done their tour of most of the Varick Street venues as well by now.  If not, start booking them!  Uptown is all over it and is showing you up!

Check out a little promo slice from the CD Release show in Utica 4/29/11:

AND, you can get a pint glass with their name on it!  I know, cause there is one on my desk this very moment as I write this (if only there was something *in* it).  I  had the pleasure of some mid-day meditation of the Moho persuasion at the Hochstein at High Falls lunch time concert series last week.  Please and thank you! Come get your ish!  Bring some cash!  They take cards, too.  Nobody is screwing around here, they need to put some gas in that van; they’ve got a lot of places to go!  They’ll have the self titled disc with them and more fun random merch than you can stuff into your cargo pockets and purses.

Catch the Moho fever this time around or do not complain to me later that you don’t know what I’m talking about.  And I”ll hear you, you know I will.  Full venue and time details coming soon.

Think links!

Moho on MySpace
The Moho Collective Blog and Videos
The Moho Collective on You Tube
Moho on Reverb Nation
Moho on Pure Volume
The Moho Collective Official Website

If you want to book this band, and I know that you do, you can get in touch with Greg Jackson of SbN Studios -he can be reached at



About MLW

Buzz Machine/buzz saw, Semi Professional Mouth, and Freelance Writer. Extreme enthusiast of the Utica Music and Arts Festival, a yearly event held in September in Utica, New York. I'm not an A&R girl, but I play one on tv. Let's collaborate!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s