Night Moves Brings Vintage Rock to Boston

Joey Johnson  Journal Contributor

When first sitting down to listen to some of the tracks off of Minneapolis-based Night Moves’ album Colored Emotions, it’s hard not to get the sensation of being transported back in time. The four young guys from the Midwest have a sound that is a bit of a far cry from what most are used to, but that’s in no way a bad thing. Standing in front of the stage at Great Scott in Allston Sunday listening to the band fill the space with sweet 70’s glam-rock sounds with just a hint of country twang was positively electric.

Night Moves was started in 2009 by lead singer John Pelant, multi-instrumentalist Mark Ritsema and bassist Micky Alfano. They later added drummer Jared Isabella in 2011, which rounded out the ensemble. Having been recently signed to Domino Records, Night Moves released their debut album Colored Emotions in October and have been on tour ever since, gaining momentum along the way.

“This is our first headlining tour,” Pelant said upon taking the stage at Sunday’s show. “So that’s pretty cool.”

“We just got done with a show at the Mercury Lounge in New York that was sold out, and that was really awesome. That was probably our favorite show so far,” Ritsema stated.

Each band member has astounding presence on the stage, and watching them play is hypnotizing. They pull you in to the music exceptionally well, and listening to them live is a real treat. The heavy bass hits and guitar riffs are all layered expertly on top of one another, and they move from song to song without effort and sometimes without delay. It keeps the focus on the music, and that makes viewing their live shows very gratifying.

When making their music, they will often start from the ground and work their way up.

“Usually I’ll put down some beats in a program beforehand and write something simple around it,” Pelant explains, “and then we’ll layer our way up from there.”

Having come from a series of successful shows before arriving in Boston, Night Moves is rising through the ranks of the indie community.

“The Millennium Club show [in New York] was probably the most exciting one we’ve had yet,” said Isabella, “but we also had an almost sold out show at Lincoln Hall in Chicago, and that was really awesome.”

The group says their success is thanks to a variety of reasons; from a great record label to simple hometown love.

“[Minneapolis] has been really nice to us,” Alfano explained, “There’s a lot of venues and people there that are really supporting us.”

When asked where they want to be five years down the road, the band mostly agreed that they’d like to continue touring, and to not be working lackluster jobs. They also stated their next album is in the works, but not to expect a release too soon. “We’re only maybe 20 percent of the way done,” Pelant said.

But who’s to say they won’t go through more transitions between now and then. Everything is a work in progress for them, including names. “Our name has changed a few times. One of the first few was Cream Cheese,” said Pelant. “If you put it in a car stereo it’ll still read that. Micky’s girlfriend’s mom saw it.”

“She did,” Alfano said laughing.

Make no mistake; this brilliant young group from Minneapolis is a real powerhouse of talent. Each one brings something exciting to the table, and as a collective they perform masterfully. The next time these guys find themselves in Boston, going to see them is heavily suggested.

When asked the question of “if you could rewrite the soundtrack to any movie, which one would it be,” the group took pause to think.

“Amadeus comes to mind immediately. I don’t really know why,” said Alfano.

“I think I’d do something like 2 Fast 2 Furious,” said Ritsema. Isabella joined on that answer.

“I would probably do The Bodyguard. With Whitney Houston,” said Pelant.

“Actually, I want to change my answer to the Blair Witch Project.” said Alfano.

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