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Reviews > Shows

Published: 2001/05/21
by Sharon Shiner

moe.- ME, MA, RI 4/20-22

April 20, State Theatre, Portland, Maine

The kick off show for moe.'s spring leg of the Dither
Tour was played on April 20 at the State Theatre.
The show was well attended. An interesting date to
start off the tour, 4/20, moe. opened the show with
Plane Crash, sporting the ever-popular chorus: "Tie me
in, strap me down and roll me a bone. I'm getting on
an airplane, and I'm flying home. Tie me in, strap me
down, I'm learning to fly. Drive across the country, I
get too fucking high". The song was well played,
energetic and it fired up the crowd. Plane Crash was
the first of a many "party" songs played to keep in
spirit with the 4/20 theme. Other songs played
included, Akimbo (Ritalin reference), OkayAlright
("Smokin' joints in the parking lot") , Happy Hour
Hero (with guest, Jamie Masefield of the Jazz Mandolin
Project), Cocaine (JJ Cale cover, first time played),
Opium, and Recreational Chemistry. The encore was the
punk classic I Want to Be Sedated, a Ramones' cover,
dedicated to the late Joey Ramone.

Overall, I thought the show was mediocre. The setlist
was chock full of goodies, but I felt that the songs
were not well executed. moe.'s playing seemed rushed.
It was their first night playing together after a one
month hiatus, and to me, it showed. They played the
song, Understand, a song that I usually enjoy, but
before I knew it, it was over. Cocaine was interesting
to hear. Both guitarists Al Schnier and Chuck Garvey
took solos. Rec Chem, which has been absolutely HUGE
as of late, was not as strong as I have heard them
play it. They had one segue that was worth mentioning,
Hi and Lo into Bring It Back Home. Garvey scatted his
way through the solo and broke it down, letting Derhak
and the percussion crew, Vinnie Amico and Jim
Loughlin, take it into BIBH. The boys were joined
again by Masefield as well as by JMP drummer, Ari
Hoenig for BIBH. The addition of Hoenig on the
percussion lent another layer of texture to the drum
brigade that ended the song. One other interesting
point to note is, in the song Mexico, Chuck started
off the solo, and Schnier ended it, giving the song a
bit of a different flavor. The show was fun, and had
an interesting theme, but for me, it lacked the spice
that I was looking for.

April 21, Worcester Palladium

After the tour opener in Portland, which left me a bit
disappointed, I was ready to hear the moe. I had been
waiting for. This night they did not disappoint. From
the first note of Jazz Wank, to the last note of
Interstellar Overdrive (!), they played seriously, and
they played hard.
Set one opened with Jazz Wank -> Buster. Wank is a
great way to start off a moe. show. The intensity of
the song set the tone for the night. Buster, with the
Calypso beat, had the crowed bopping back and forth. A
Chuck tune followed, It, (standard) then Spaz
Medicine, a quirky, spasmatic, ska inspired song. A
one, two punch of Seat of My Pants -> Sensory
Deprivation Bank, featuring percussionist Loughlin on
the skins ended the first set. It was a short set, (55
minutes), but it was a strong set.

moe. opened the second set with Stranger than Fiction,
a classic bar song, and a good choice for a set
opener. Following was Faker -> Kids. Faker starts off
slow and showcases Derhak on vocals. After a few
verses, the song goes into a monster jam by Schnier.
He built the song up, literally beating up on his
guitar, the vessels in his head popping out. Finally,
with the scream of his guitar, the guys all took their
mics and sang the bridge in harmony: "Time is a song
just waiting for a singer." From there, Garvey took
over. He broke the song down to the bare minimum. The
jam went through a short reggae portion, and from
there, Garvey picked away, slowly and deliberately,
leaving everyone wondering just what song they were
going into. Loughlin started in on his marimba, (a
xylophone). Schnier strummed underneath Garvey and
everyone ended up at Kids, as Amico kicked the beat.
Kids, another calypsoesgue song, reminds me of a
playground, on a hot summers day. It is a feel good
song with an amazing ending. Mid song they break it
down and guitarist Schnier has his chance to build it
up. With the addition of Loughlin on the Marimba, the
song is light and airy, full of smiles and hugs. The
jam is so beautiful, it leaves me breathless.
Together with matching guitars in an Allmans feel,
they end up back in the body of Kids. The ending part
reminds me of the Dead classic, The Eleven. The
Faker-> Kids is a classic example of moe.'s
versatility. They start off with a hard rocking, angry
sounding jam, and take it into the polar opposite, a
light, beautiful song. Continuing on through the set,
moe. played the country flaired Tambourine, featuring
Loughlin on the washboard, and Garvey on the slide.
They continued to mix it up, and changed the song a
bit since the last time I heard them play it by
featuring a spot in the song where they abandoned
their instruments momentarily to sing acapella over
the kick drum.
Fooling with the audience a bit, Derhak started to
tease Meat, but then stopped. He then started it
again, and stopped. Finally they busted full-fledged
into Meat, which proved to be a monster. Together as a
unit, moe. played through Meat into an amazing, true
segue into Head. This type of segue is just what I
have been waiting for. When segueing into Head, the
tempo usually gets low, and Al has been fiddling and
diddling before busting into Head, but this was not
the case. During his solo in Meat, Schnier
incorporated the opening measures of Head into the
solo, and the band followed suit. It was beautifully
done. Head was the set ender. After a show like that,
I figured moe. would encore with a short ditty, but I
was wrong. They came out and covered Pink Floyd's
Interstellar Overdrive. It was around ten minutes
long, dark and well played.
I couldn't have asked for a better show. It had all of
the elements that I look for in a show: consistency in
playing, variety in song type, and improvisation.

April 22, Providence, Rhode Island, Timmy the Rock
Opera

Upon the announcement of Timmy, I have to admit, I was
a bit surprised. moe. played Timmy in April of last
year, at their CD release party for their CD, L. It
was unannounced and so no one had any expectations. It
was great. Seeing moe. act spontaneous was sure a
treat. I did not think that they were going to be able
to pull it off again, this time having to fulfill many
people's expectations.

The opera was well played, but it was too long. The
set ran just shy of 2 hours. The highlight of the
opera was Chuck on guitar. The man was on fire.
Weaving the song, Timmy Tucker, throughout the set was
easily accomplished by Garvey. I thought that CIA was
well done, as well as Timmy's Escape. Another
recurring theme throughout the jams was the song
Imelda Mae, primarily driven by guitarist, Al Schnier.
A new addition to the opera was a quote of The Who
song, I Can See For Miles. Also covered during the
Opera is The Magical Mystery Bus, Paradise by the
Dashboard Lights and New York, New York.
Unfortunately, the sound in the auditorium was a bit
muffled, and the narration was at times, a bit hard to
understand.

The second set opened with 32 Things. The lights were
amazing; moe.'s lighting director, Chris Ragan helped
bring the song to its climax by using the strobes. The
country based Time Again was played next, followed by
a short, but crisp, Captain America. Finishing up the
set was She Sends Me, with Schnier hopping across the
stage like Chuck Berry, and finally with Four into
Rebubula. Drummer Amico got creative during Four. It
was refreshing to hear him mix it up, and only
confirmed my knowledge that he is a creative,
innovative and cutting edge drummer. Spine of a Dog
was played as the encore song. Again, it contained no
crazy, long jam, but rather was short and sweet.

The three show run was fun and musically, it had its
ups and downs. They are playing tight, and are quite
in tune with one another. I like the way they
communicate with each other on stage. However, I think
that they need to mix it up a bit more. I want them to
try new segues, and new song combinations. I want them
to go to the edge, stand on their tip toes and wave
their arms back and forth as they waiver with dropping
over. I am hearing their playing, and I know that
they are capable of doing it, but right now, I feel
they are in a comfort zone. Hopefully they will break
out of the comfort zone, and take a few more chances
when I see them play next time.

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