Shoot Down the Moon Plays Rare Show At Cactus Club

The veteran indie rock band Shoot Down the Moon seldom plays shows these days. They came out from the shadows to play at Cactus Club Monday night, sharing the bill with folk singer David Dondero and Ian Olvera of Daydream Retrievers. Sadly, Olvera had been in immense pain and only played three songs.

Shoot Down the Moon consists of vocalist/guitarist Jake McDonald, guitarist/vocalist Fizz Flanagan, bassist Jon Taglienti, and drummer Zak Ihlenfeld. The band formed out of childhood friendship; McDonald, Flanagan and Ihlenfeld have known each other for twenty-five years. They have been playing music since the seventh grade, although the adult life has had them preoccupied and unable to play as often as they used to.

“There was one Christmas in like fourth grade or fifth grade…and I got a guitar, (Ihlenfeld) got a drumset, Fizz got a bass…and I think our parents maybe talked, we don’t know. But it kinda locked us into this crappy band life. I still blame them for buying me that guitar,” McDonald humorously recalled.

SDTM have not played since October. They have a niche crowd.

“It’s a lot of close friends that come out. We do this thing where we play new songs a few shows in a row but don’t release them. It’s not intentional, but it’s like people have to come to the show to hear the songs,” McDonald said.

Flanagan bartends at Cactus and worked at the now-closed Yield Bar, where the band also played shows back in the day.

“We’re hoping to play a show at a bar Fizz doesn’t work at,” McDonald joked.

McDonald recalls how one of the band’s early shows went.

“The Rock Shop was an all-ages venue that we could play at while we were fifteen-sixteen. The first time we played there we got booed off the stage. I had a broken foot so I was sitting on a stool. It was just our friends there and they booed us; I thought they were my friends at the time. But the place burned down that night…I think they burned it down for insurance; it was a shitty venue.”

SDTM’s last album “Forever Sedated” came out in 2017 and can be found on Bandcamp. They have been tracking for a new album.

“We always did DIY recording, but for the last two albums we went into the studio. We tracked all the guitars and vocals for our new album which is stuff we played tonight. Basically we just need to track down drums and bass. I mean I had a kid and that keeps me busy and everybody’s got jobs and stuff. The cool thing about us playing for so long is that we’re really good friends and if someone isn’t feeling it, it’s not like we’re like “oh let’s find somebody else.” I think we write really cool songs and we want people to hear them, so we’re trying to find our balance between doing that and living our normal lives.”

It had been a real treat not only seeing Shoot Down the Moon play, but also seeing them going sixteen years strong.

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