Funkgaze: Moon Ensemble returns to U-Rock

By Sean Goodwin

In the midst of U-Hour commotion, a wave of music swept through a crowd of onlookers at University Park on Thursday, brought on by the return of U-Rock, a concert series organized by Associated Students, Inc.

On stage, a band named Moon Ensemble played what they describe as “funkgaze” and “psychydance.”

U-Rock occurs the last Thursday of each month during U-Hour as a way to entertain students during their breaks from busy class schedules.

From inception until now, Moon Ensemble has formed a sound that incorporates many different genres, making them unique.

This particular performance marked Moon Ensemble’s third anniversary.

The soft jazz coming from the speakers one moment sounded completely different from the fast punk vibe presented only a song later.

However, the sound always stayed identifiable, so not one song felt out of place.

A crowd of 20 to 30 people gathered early in the set and continued bobbing their heads to the unique sound throughout.

Luna Armas decided to sit down and watch the show after walking by and hearing the music.

“I thought it was really nice; they had a lot of different beats, but I don’t know how to describe the music at all,” said Armas, a third-year education and integrative studies student at Cal Poly Pomona. “It’s just different.”

Moon Ensemble showcased a great stage presence, which resonated with the audience.

They started performing before the concert even began, with Nikolas Bobluk, the bassist, playing his keyboard, smiling and dancing along to the emerging crowd as the band set up.

Michael Garcia, the drummer, showcased a lot of energy that did not go unnoticed either. The complexity of his drum work inspired the crowd to pay close attention to the varying beats.

Brandon Harb, the guitarist and a senior music student at CPP, and Andrew Fructuoso, keyboardist and music student at Cal State Northridge, both shared singing duties.

Fructuoso played passionately, which contrasted excellently with Harb’s energetic strumming.

The casual atmosphere of the event gave the band a more intimate setting with the audience, which allowed them to get immediate feedback during their performance since they could see the crowd’s reactions.

“People looked like they were bobbing their heads,” said Harb.

This intimate feel also allowed the audience to be at ease while interacting with the band during and after the show.

“Meeting new people afterwards was really cool,” said Garcia.

He felt particularly confident about somebody in the crowd telling him during the set that his drumming was good.

The set lasted more than 45 minutes, so the crowd slowly shrunk over time, as they had to leave for classes. However, the viewers who stayed remained enthusiastic.

After the performance finished, there was even a desire for an encore by old and new fans, which did not occur due to time constraints.

Aside from CPP, Moon Ensemble is constantly performing locally. Harb noted a show they will be having with Tijuana Panthers at the Glass House in Pomona May 6.

The band also frequents the Dba256 Bar in Pomona, which Harb called their “unofficial home.”

Moon Ensemble can also be found at many social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace, but their Instagram profile tends to be the most active.

More concerts will be held at University Park in the final months of the year to continue the U-Rock series.

Since this U-Rock concert wasn’t Moon Ensemble’s first time playing the event, it may be possible to catch their rare sound again, with the band telling the crowd they would be more than willing to play at University Park again.

Moon Ensemble original artwork

Courtesy of Moon Ensemble

Moon Ensemble original artwork

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