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Published: 2008/06/23
by Randy Ray

Warts and All, v. 6: January 28, 2007, Liberty Hall, Lawrence, KS – moe.

Fatboy Records 6651

The game is on as the loud, appreciative crowd response hits moe. as they walk onto the stage at Lawrence, Kansas’ Liberty Hall. Bassist/vocalist Rob Derhak cracks: “Do you guys think we’re somebody else?” And they’re notthey’re moe. On this latestand, apparently, limitededition in the Warts and All series, that is a remarkable thing as the band delivers what they do so well with self-assured pride.

This site was created, among numerous reasons, to celebrate jambands that aren’t always writing the most brief and pithy radio-friendly songs. And, yet, moe. has been able to do that on many occasionsmost particularly with 1998’s wild and wonderfully upbeat Tin Cans and Car Tires, 2003’s landmark marriage of studio and live track synthesis, Wormwood, and last year’s Sticks and Stones, which gave fans a new, mature sound grounded in songcraft rather than old school hard rock improv.

Now comes the sixth in a live series that may or may not have a future as moe. enters a short hiatus from the road later in 2008. What is apparent from the outset of the show, along with the jubilant audience, is that the band is also quite willing to stretch out and return to their roots with long, intricate jams that carry one away on a very warm journey, indeed. The second disc, which will get a hell of a lot of play in a jam lover’s mode of listening choiceiPod, or whathaveyais a gold mine with a spectacular version of their trademark piece, “Rebubula,” followed by equally lengthy and euphoric readings of “Spine of a Dog,” and “Dr. Graffenberg”the latter track effortlessly soaring out of a mesmerizing jam and segueing into a gigantic version of “Four.”

First and third and nobody’s outeither“Captain America” and “Bring It Back Home” deliver some initial sparks within a contained framework on Disc 1. “Jazz Wank” closes the side with impressionistic noodlery tangled up in a solemn way (which segues into “Rebubula” on the following disc). “Head > Brent Black,” however, on the third platter, rival their second disc-ballyhooed brethren with a huge passage of dynamic improvisation. There, the band offers a cooking percussion (the taut imagery of Jim Loughlin) and drums (the hold steady of Vinnie Amico) duet before ending on an extremely high note, fulfilling the early promise that the audience was going to catch a classic show on this January eve in the town of the Wakarusa festival, and the late Beat marksman/smack addict/writer William Burroughs, who also knew a thing or two about sorting out a series of sustained riffs which produce resonance. Check it outmoe. in their element proving that the Art of the Jam still lives when both audience and artist are playing on the same subconscious field of dreams.

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