The Southwest is more of Moxie’s speed

Moxie kicks off the 2023 concert season with infectious joy

Cesar Soto, Staff Writer

For the first time ever, Vermont-based band Moxie came to San Antonio for a show at the Paper Tiger on Thursday, Jan. 5. Joined by The Irons and Floats, this was the first concert of the year for most of the crowd, and everyone was ready for these bands to kick off the year strong.

The hometown band, Floats, which has played several shows around the Alamo City since last year, took the stage first. They had some equipment issues at the start of their set, but once those were resolved, the three-piece looked much more comfortable, and they were able to cruise through their great surf rock set.

  The band, headed by lead singer and guitarist Mark Perez, excelled in switching between quicker and slower tempos. One song of theirs had a softer nature to it at first before exploding at a much faster speed. “Switchblade” was the track that got the crowd pushing and shoving like their music demanded, which put the broadest smile on Perez’s face. 

They wrapped with their most streamed song, “Dancing With Our Feet,” to which the crowd enthusiastically danced. It is always a pleasure to catch Floats, especially in their hometown, and everyone should be on the lookout for their upcoming shows.

The second and final opener was the indie rock band The Irons, coming in from just up the road in Austin. The group of five consists of Hayden Havard on vocals, Robby Harris on guitar, Nathan Pittman on drums, Caleb Tippit on guitar and Willy Stegman on bass. Each of these guys made their distinct personalities shine on stage, which made for such a good time. 

The unpredictability of their set was remarkable. At one point, Harris and Tippit instructed the crowd to split in half so they could jump in and have a dance-off. The band started this off by playing a groovy track that everyone was dancing along to, then they suddenly cranked up the intensity, and the two guitarists turned the room into a chaotic moshpit. 

During the closing instrumental break of “When It’s Ready for You,” their finale, Havard jumped into the crowd to form another crazy pit. He finished by spinning madly about on his back all over the Paper Tiger floor to conclude an absolutely mad set — one you would not want to miss.

The night’s headliner was Moxie, journeying all the way down from Vermont to kick off their first-ever West Coast tour. The alternative-indie band comprises Rei Kimura on vocals and guitar, Leander Holzapfel on guitar, Daniel Snyder on drums and David Cohen on bass. Interestingly, Moxie was not their first choice of name for the band.

“We were originally named ‘Dixie’ after Daniel, the drummer’s, dog who used to always be around our practices and stuff, but then we decided we didn’t like it, so like two months in being Dixie, we decided to change it to Moxie because it sounded similar enough,” says Kimura. “Not necessarily a deeper meaning, just kind of what came to us and what seemed to fit.” 

Touring ahead of the release of their new Extended Play (EP), “Where the Day Goes,” the songs they played off it showcased the great sound they have developed. Kimura’s vocals felt both emotional and energetic, suiting their groovier style. The singer underwent a different creative process when putting their upcoming EP together.

“Because I was in school when we were recording [the songs] this past fall, it was still kind of a remote process where the boys, they would all track the instrumentation up in Burlington, Vermont, and then they would send the project down to me, and then I had the opportunity to just kind of like track all the vocals that I wanted, and then all these different piano parts that I wanted, which was super fun.”

The rest of the band had plenty to show off as well, with moments where Cohen showed out on bass and Snyder excelled on drums, drawing some of the biggest cheers of the night. Holzapfel also played a variety of guitar riffs that perfectly set the tone for each song. On tracks like “Go Getter” and “Living in A Bubble,” the grooves and chords flowed right out of their guitars, with Holzapfel and Cohen having playful musical exchanges.

They closed their set with “The Next,” a single from their new EP that the crowd loved. This was intended to be their final song, but San Antonio insisted on hearing one more. “My All” was the band’s encore, with Kimura having the crowd sing back to her in yet another playful moment that was the last of many the band had.

Moxie’s performance left the Paper Tiger with an infectious feeling of joy. The amount of excitement that the members were having on stage was shared with those in the crowd, with many delightful moments that put smiles on everyone’s faces, including the band themselves.

“We’ve been performing these songs for a long time now, but for me, this tour was like [the] most fun ever playing with Moxie and playing these songs and stuff, so just absolute fun and joy as well.”

Moxie’s new single, “The Next,” is now streaming on Spotify and Apple Music. Check out their Instagram @moxietheband and their LinkTree for more information. Listen to the full interview with Kimura on The Paisano Audio’s Spotify.