Dig Baton Rouge

Straight Funk: Moonsugar

By William McCray Sutherlin

Local funk band, Moonsugar, has a diverse range of instrumentation and is made up of Paul Jackson (guitar), Brenan Breaux (drums/vocals), Melissa Heemskerk (tenor saxophone/clarinet/vocals), Andrew Moss (bass guitar), with Garrett Corripio and Rion Mooneyham on the trumpets.

Moss and Jackson had been playing music together for around four or five years prior to the formation of Moonsugar.

Moonsugar w/ Funkin’ Fierce
Mud & Water
May 17 – 8:00 p.m.

“We knew that if one of us joined a band, the other one would join as well,” Jackson said.  “I met Brenan in a dorm, and we started jamming. That gave us the idea, but we didn’t have a name at the time.”

Next, Heemskerk, Rion, and Garrett joined, implementing some some brass into the band’s ever-growing sound.

Jackson, Breaux, and Moss handle most of the song writing.  Drawing on influences such as Herbie Hancock, Return to Forever, The Supervillians, as well as a lot of psychedelic rock, funk, and reggae.

The group is currently working on a full-length album, and using the money they make playing shows to pay for the studio time and other expenses.

Moonsugar hopes to have the album fleshed out by the end of the year.  The material will come from their incredible live shows, where they perform 90% original music, as well as new material they are working on.

“1920’s Bar Fight” is very reminiscent of older Jazz tunes, with the clarinet transforming it into a Latin swing feel.

Appropriately titled “Homegrown Sugar” is “just straight funk,” as Jackson puts it.

From Latin swing to straight-up Funk, Moonsugar’s eclectic set list doesn’t stop there.

“Trust in the Tribe” seems to subtly blend Reggae and Ska, with the chorus having loud and distorted guitar layed over and a very groovy, fat bass line underneath.

Another local act, Funkin’ Fierce will be opening up for Moonsugar.  Funkin’ Fierce is made up of Jullian Civello, Matthew Drago, Jay Wilson, Paul Jackson on guitar and Chris Guillot on keys.

They are influenced by artists such as Kung Fu, Lettuce, PHISH, The Headhunters, and Jamiroquai.

These two bands are seemingly perfect fits for each other, both providing an infectious groove that is sure to keep the audience hustling and bustling all over the stage.


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