Lunarianism 101

Local standout band/religion starters Moonstone released their EP in a weekend-long bash.

 Big shadows on the walls and entranced faces are standard fare at a Moonstone Continuum show. PHOTO COURTESY ERIK HESS

Big shadows on the walls and entranced faces are standard fare at a Moonstone Continuum show. PHOTO COURTESY ERIK HESS

Conrad Schoenleber

ItâÄôs not very often that a band bases their music on their own cult, especially one as weird as the Orthodox Lunarian Organization. But local six-piece Moonstone Continuum has done exactly that, and gained legions of entranced yet befuddled listeners and head-scratching press. Fronted by visionary leader the Rev. Micah Mackert, the experimental prog-rock band recently captured a spot at First AvenueâÄôs annual best new bands showcase. Last weekend, their LP release party was a two-day event that spanned a better-left-unnamed underground venue on Friday and the Turf Club on Saturday. A Moonstone gig leaves attendees bewildered but hooked as Mackert writhes, stumbles and shakes across the stage as if possessed by the spirit of some ancient erotic deity. Contrasted with his underdog heartthrob face, itâÄôs an interesting sight indeed. The songs are one part preaching and multiple parts epic, mind-bending rock. Between numbers, MackertâÄôs stage banter describes alternate versions of reality based on a lunar history. As Mackert describes the bandâÄôs beliefs, âÄúThere are two primary divisions of moonstone practitioners: the Lunarian and the Moonservant. We are a Lunarian organization.âÄù Ok. We kind of get it. Mackert expounds on the divisions âÄî âÄúMoonservants are more a fundamentalist sect. Their faith is predicated on a literal interpretation of the Scriptures that we find repulsive.âÄù If this means nothing to you, donâÄôt feel bad. It was near impossible to get a straight answer out of Mackert. Whether or not itâÄôs a big joke, the band keeps a straight face and doesnâÄôt court publicity it in any traditional way. Mackert was a tough man to get an audience with. Luckily, Moonstone does have musical chops to back up their ambitious gimmick. Covering some of the same musical ground as Emerson, Lake and Palmer, their bizarre energy is catchy and engaging. Pulsing guitars, overdriven synths and booming drums form a sexy and powerful sound. ItâÄôs rock and roll, baby, in all its ethereal weirdness. The first track off MoonstoneâÄôs recent LP, âÄúErotic Banquet,âÄù describes the initiation of converts into the society. âÄúAt the precipice of pubescence, the young naked initiates drop jaw to the erotic banquet,âÄù Mackert precisely preaches, âÄúBy which they are conducted through Salivia, the sopping tubeworm reclining pinkly through space, connecting first to second Earth.âÄù Things continue in this vein, becoming increasingly bizarre âÄî if thatâÄôs even possible. All thatâÄôs missing is a virgin sacrifice, but maybe thatâÄôs saved for the next album. The seriousness of Moonstone is part of the appeal. Listeners canâÄôt help but wonder, is this a joke? But Moonstone never crack a smile or drop the act. On his blog, Mackert claims that he is a trained and authorized âÄúLunarian priest and moonservice scholarâÄù with degrees in âÄútrans-possible cognition and comparative factualism.âÄù Yes, a Google search reveals that neither has been documented in history, at least on the Web. To fully appreciate Moonstone Continuum, one has to set aside all previous beliefs and let the spectacle enfold you. Grab a hooded robe and some pigâÄôs blood, for when it comes to the cult of rocking, Moonstone Continuum is going to make you a believer. Moonstone ALBUM: âÄúNR: 4;3.1-3âÄù LABEL: Unsigned To find out more about MoonstoneâÄôs cult creed, check out MackertâÄôs blog at moonstoneministries.blogspot.com. Also make sure to pick up their newest 12âÄù vinyl. âÄúThe recent release is my own translation from the original languages, with my own commentaries,âÄù Mackert said, adding his own quite humble observation that âÄúitâÄôs quite a scholarly feat to attempt to do that solo.âÄù