by Ben Mangum
“Feels right ‘cause it seems right. And it feels right cause it means right.” The chorus from the single “Carl Sagan” encapsulates John Pelant and Micky Alfano’s band known as Night Moves.
I first came across Night Moves after a botched attempt to listen to the Bob Seger classic of the same name on Spotify. I instead put on their single “Carl Sagan.” 15 seconds in, I had to see what was gracing my ears. After listening to another track “Country Queen” I was sure I’d found the next big thing in rock music.
Night Moves’ music is much like the work of scientist Carl Sagan. It’s a spacey, country dream intertwined with tight hooks and falsetto harmonies inspired by the likes of Brian Wilson. Much like Sagan’s ability to capture our imagination about a universe beyond earth, Night Moves takes you into unexplored territory in rock music yet manages to make it accessible. You can throw on Night Moves in your office and the twenty-year-old intern who only listens to top 20 hits will start bobbing her head. Meanwhile, Sharon in accounting will say that she remembers when these guys came out in the 70s. Sorry, Sharon, you’re wrong about this one.
After my discovery of Night Moves, I was determined to see them live. Shockingly, I found they only occasionally played in the Midwest at tiny venues. As a New Yorker, I was confident I could catch them at one of the smaller venues. After months of checking their website, I was unable to find anything nearby. I broke down, rallied a couple of friends, and purchased a flight to Chicago to see the young band play in a bar for $12. Five feet from the band, the atmosphere was electric. The sound was bigger and tighter than I could have ever imagined. Fifteen minutes into the show, a Chicago friend, with no prior exposure, leaned over and said: “I don’t know who these guys sound like, but I don’t want to stop listening.”
Her quote and the hook from Carl Sagan encompass Night Moves essence – scintillating rock and roll that might be distant but always feels right.
After the show, we spent some time with the band. We learned that they faced some major management and distribution issues after the release of Pennied Days, but are gearing up for their third release in March. A few of these new tracks were played. The melodies felt punchier, but the soul that drives Night Moves remained.
We can’t wait to see what Night Moves has in store and strongly recommend taking a peek before Micky and John start selling out Soldier Field.