Princess, Jim Norton And More Make Final Night of Moontower Fest One For The Books (REVIEW)

The final night of Moontower was one for the books. “What’s that?” you say. “An old timey reference?” Yes, indeed internet, the books are where we once recorded everything in order to keep track of small details we might not remember. Think social media, in print form. Podcasts, comedy, music, it’s all part of this magical medium that made up the (still) easiest festival Austin has to offer.

I kicked the day off with Kevin Smith and Jay Mewe’s podcast Jay and Silent Bob Get Old. The whole thing is mostly prattling on with sex jokes, weed references, and a crowd similar to what made up the audience at the Opie XM broadcast the day before. There’s certainly a trend that comes with the comedy crowds; mostly made up of men in their mid-twenties to late-fifties, it’s a little intimidating to establish yourself at the more popular shows. However, just like the Opie podcast, there was a solid amount of diversity reaffirming the notion that EVERYONE in fact, enjoys comedy.

As most of the comedians did, Smith and Mewes detailed their journey to Austin, dropping their compliments and complaints early on in an attempt to connect with the audience. It works, generally; who doesn’t like to hear their favorite celebrity talk about places they attend on the regular? Smith explained that part of why they kept their podcast up was to keep Mewes on the wagon- he was an avid drug user for much of his early life. The change in sobriety doesn’t do much to change Mewes persona; in the first thirty minutes of their podcast he managed to stay up and jittery while finishing four Red Bulls, go through three different recent sex stories (one with his wife, the other two solo) and call Smith a bitch at the tail end of most sentences. It turns out Jay and Silent Bob are just as we left them.

Smith went on to talk about his time directing an upcoming episode of The Flash, a show that he argues is the best comic show (or incarnation) out there. He did manage to give away a few spoilers while describing yelling at Mewes on set for recording videos that could have given away spoilers, but it’s forgivable considering the context. Aside from the language and the crude stories, it was generally tame, just as Smith tends to be.

Later that night was Jim Norton’s headlining show. Norton is a comic great, so it was surprising when there was no line to get into his show and open seats even as the opener began. ‘Leslie Loves Collin’ was happening next door at the Paramount, so it seems television trumped all this time around. While Leslie Jones’ comedy was great the night before, it felt irresponsible to pass up an opportunity to see Norton in favor of Jost. Opener Annie Lederman was fantastic. Her set was short and sweet, and her jokes were original. While there was that self-deprecating element to her set that all comics tend to dwell on, she didn’t go too far into it. It was greatly appreciated as many of the popular female comics tend to bring themselves down in a manner that makes it hard to relate to them.

Norton had a great set that dug deep into pop culture, commenting on Caitlyn Jenner, the Kardashians, Kanye West, and more. It honestly would have been dated were it not for his delivery. As mentioned earlier, it was surprising that the audience wasn’t sold out, and a little upsetting that they had the inability to sit still. Norton is notorious for tearing apart hecklers and picking on folks that can’t get their shit together during a comedy show. This time around was no different as he immediately started picking on folks as they made their way to the bathroom (which were many as the alcohol flowed just as heavily as the day before). The whole thing was fantastic, and choosing Norton’s set was definitely the correct choice.

The big closer of the evening was Maya Rudolph and Gretchen Lieberum’s Prince tribute band Princess. After Thursday’s tragedy it was understandably the hot ticket item. The lines were long, the single tickets were completely sold out, and the organizers were able to get a hold of over 1,200 purple glow sticks to surprise the band with when they began to play. The whole thing was a fitting tribute to the man himself. Rudolph and Lieberum acted as the leads to what would turn out to be a fantastic backing band (their guitar player managed to kill every solo like he was mad at it). The only off thing about the evening was the crowd; Princess was playing a lot of the earlier Prince songs and it seemed most of the crowd was looking for just the hits.

Aside from the crappy reception from part of the audience, Princess gave an intimate show that was emotionally driven, well done, and at times hilarious, making it an integral part of what made the festival great. They finished their set with Prince’s “Darling Nikki” and a quick anecdote about meeting the man himself. Apparently he had seen them perform the song on television and kept it on his DVR, a fact that excited both the leading ladies and the crowd. Since “Darling Nikki” isn’t quite a closer, the band returned to stage to end the night with “Purple Rain”. Rudolph sobbed through the whole thing, relating to the audience afterward that her hero was dead, and the only thing that made it better was that moment with the sold out audience as we mourned together.

After that performance it felt like the night was over, really what’s going to top that? The after party was raging hard over at 800 Congress, and after a quick walk through and a few goodbyes I bailed early. It was crowed and there were too many emotions to sort through from the Princess showcase. Moontower had done well, and it was time to wallow in it.

Princess definitely dominated all remnants of the fest. Whether it was because of their talent or the loss of Prince doesn’t matter- it was exactly what needed to happen at that moment in time. James Adomian was still one of my favorite sets, along with Hasan Minhaj, Piff the Magic Dragon, Phoebe Robinson, Mac Blake, and Jim Norton. While I feel like I missed out on many of the local comics, it was a fantastic opportunity to get a good look at the national talent out there. Moontower was well planned and well executed, I’m glad to have been a part of it.

Check out our reviews of Moontower DAY 1 and DAY 2!

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One Response

  1. Nicely done… you managed to get a Chip Chipperson “what’s that” joke into your article about Jim Norton… Either a true fan or just a lucky line, but well played, ma’am… well played.

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