By Joshua Wallace
Photography By Joshua Wallace
I was able to see Mike and The Moonpies live in Macon, GA on January 25th, 2020 which was a Saturday night. This concert was at The Creek Stage at The Rookery which is a restaurant in Macon. They convert a dining room into a concert hall when they have concerts scheduled. It’s a very intimate venue and a very unique setting. I hope to go back to The Rookery sometime soon to eat as it looked like a very good restaurant. I arrived at 09:30pm on a Saturday night and it was packed. You can’t say that about many places these days. This show was actually billed as the after party for a show that was happening at the Hargray Capitol Theater which is down the street from The Rookery. That show was Robert Earl Keen with Aubrie Sellers as the opening act. I was only here for Mike and The Moonpies though and they got things kicked off at 10:45 pm with no opener. The small room filled out pretty quickly. The Moonpies put on a great show as they always do. This band gets better every time I see them.
The band kicked things off with “Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em” and “Damn Strait”, the latter of which is my favorite track off The Hard Way album and is always fun to hear live. When the band got into “Getting High At Home” and “Steak Night At The Prairie Rose”, you could tell this would be a fun crowd as they were singing along with both songs. In fact, this crowd favored pretty much everything from Steak Night At The Prairie Rose and the new album Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold. The band still played through the older stuff and I especially loved hearing “El Camino” from their The Real Country album. We got a great Merle Haggard cover with “Working Man Blues” before the band got into material from the new record.
I was happy to hear “Young In Love” and “Miss Fortune” live this time. I feel like those are two underrated tracks from the stellar new album. “You Look Good In Neon” was another hit with the crowd as it turned into a sing-a-long. This was amazing as the last time I had heard this song live, the record was barely out and no one knew the track. You could say the same for “Danger” too which is another mega popular track from the new album. “Beaches Of Biloxi” is also always a popular live track with bass player Omar’s seemingly random crowd participation bits. The band then got to the title tracks of both 2012’s The Hard Way and the new album Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold. The latter of which was another sing-along with the crowd. From there, they did “London Homesick Blues” and their cover of Fastball’s “The Way”. I used to love that song back in the 90’s and until Mike and The Moonpies did it, I had not heard it in a long time.
The band did a great version of “Bottled Beer” off their first album which concluded with Omar’s tease of the famous bass line from Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls”. The fans that know that song always pop for it. They wrapped up the regular set with “We’re Gone” and “The Real Country”. The band played a great closing jam before coming back to the stage for covers of Townes Van Zandt’s “Pancho and Lefty” and Rusty Weir’s “Don’t It Make You Wanna Dance”.
I highly recommend seeing this band live in smaller venues while you have the chance. I don’t think we will have that opportunity for very long. This band is a very tight live band and they have such a charismatic stage presence that not many have right now. Omar Oyoque is one of the best bass players you can find in a country band and is a highlight of every show. Mike and The Moonpies are currently playing in Key West, FL as part of Mile 0 Fest. If you’re in the southeast, your next chance to see them will be at the Standard Deluxe in Waverly, AL for the 20th Anniversary of the “Old 280” Boogie on April 18th. You can find details of that event here and check out the band’s website for more tour information and where you can find out when they are coming near you.