Friday night brought a wicked night of psychedelic and stoner rock to The Cooperage featuring bands Spirit Mother, Moon Rats, and El Perro along with the Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show. The Milwaukee Underwear Bike Ride concluded there at the same time as well, drawing in a massive crowd of people wearing various levels of clothing drinking various things. On top of that, DaveKevinAdam was DJing outside on the patio. The Cooperage/Boone & Crockett was the place to be Friday.

Moon Rats is fronted by vocalist/guitarist Al Kraemer. The normal lineup consists of bassist Myles Coyne, rhythm guitarist Vic Buell, and drummer Brendt Dondero but Friday’s show featured Kevin Topel in for rhythm guitarist and Dan Dahl behind the kit plus Anthony Smith on keys. This was their first show in a few years; Kraemer explains what the band’s been up to since their 2017 debut record “Highway Lord.”

“Ever since Calliope transformed into Astral Hand, that’s kind of taken up all our creative energy. We didn’t really have any time to do Moon Rats stuff; really any time the Astral Hand guys weren’t available for a show, Moon Rats was the ace in the hole. This show in particular, no one except me and Myles were available but luckily we got Dan, Kevin, and Anthony to learn a set that’s all in the same chord. Anthony has stood in on drums before so he knew the set, but we were like, “fuck it dude, come play keys with us because you can.” And a bunch of us have been friends with Mad Alchemy for a few years, and we weren’t gonna let them come into town without fucking partying with us.”

He shares what they’ve got in store for the next few months.

“We were gonna try to release music before this happened but there was a lot of other shit going on. We went into Howl Street and recorded drums for four or five songs…Shane rips. He got us in pretty much last minute, and Brendt and I hadn’t really practiced a whole lot but we’ve been sitting on an album’s worth of music for like two years. So we went in and did the songs that we could play the best and got solid drum takes, and we’re gonna just do the rest of the recording at home. Hopefully in the next few months we’ll get it all done and get some other music out there.”

Lastly, Kraemer describes a bit of what he’s been writing lyrics about.

“Moon Rats has always been like Lord of the Rings-Zelda-motorcycle-stoner rock. The first album unintentionally became a narrative with the Highway Lord, and so the next album is way more concise and intentionally a concept album. It’s basically a sequel. Honestly I want to find an animation studio to make it into a whole story.”

Moon Rats do not have any more shows booked as of now, but stay tuned.

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