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Published: 2001/07/28
by Pete Broadbent

Monkeys on Ecstasy- Visulite Theater, Charlotte 7/22

At the beginning of the summer, I moved to Charleston, West Virginia. Not exactly the live music capital of the world; I was worried about how I’d get my summer fix. Four moe. shows later, it’s been a good summer.
After Portsmouth, I thought I’d seen my last until September. Then I heard about the Monkeys on Ecstasy show scheduled for the Visulite on a Sunday. Perfect.

The Visulite looks run down from the outside, but once inside, you are treated to an intimate setting wrapped in velvet curtains.

I took my friend, Amy, to her first moe. show that night. Suffice it to say, it won’t be her last. moe. opened up with a killer segue, er, sausage fest- Money>Time Ed> Lazarus. Money was smooth, with Chris Ragan providing some appropriate green hues.
Then Satan himself, Mr. Chuck Garvey, took the wheel. Time Ed raged. I love this song, and I don’t get to hear enough of it. Great version, and it flowed effortlessly into Lazarus. Lazarus is a new tune, and the moe.rons have been asking for more of it. I was fortunate to hear it at Tip’s during that epic Jazzfest late night this May. This version did not disappoint. Rob's voice was beautiful, and I think Lazarus has some of the most thoughtful lyrics I’ve heard from any band lately; the chorus always grabs me. I’d attempt to translate it for you, but I am afraid I would garble Rob’s words.

During Lazarus, I thought to myself that we might be in for a whole set segue, and was a little bummed when Lazarus raged to a close without moving inot another song. Oh well. Next up was Kyle, which Rob dedicated to the guys at the Visulite who put the whole show together. Kyle was short and sweet, with great guitar solos by Al and a nice sound coming from Jim on vibraphone.

Next, moe. hit us with a spacey jam next that found its way to Rise. Rise was nice, and then there was a smooth segue into Bring it Back Home. A lot of the .rons aren’t a big fan of this song, but it absolutely raged (Al’s veins were bulging out of his head to the point I was a little worried for his health).

After setbreak, Rob came on stage and said “It’s time to stop fucking around.” Damn if they didn’t do just that. Well, hold on, first there was Stranger then Fiction, which was alright Then the boys really stopped f’n around. Bodhissatvha was spectacular, which Chuck skatting extra lyrics over the mix.
At this point the real show began. The next hour of music was perhaps the finest I have ever heard in person.

Happy Hour Hero> Seat of My Pants> Swingtown Jam> Recreational Chemistry> Cissy Strut> Recreational Chemistry.

Even on paper that looks amazing. Here goes. Happy Hour Hero was nice, smooth segue into an amazing SOMP. For those of you non-devotees of moe. Seat of My Pants has a heavy metal section in the middle. I thought Anthrax took the stage it was so intense. Chuck was on his back on the floor. Al was jumping up and down; it was a madhouse. Ragan’s strobes made the whole thing even darker and scarier. SOMP turned into a crazy vocal jam, with Chuck singing the chorus to Steve Miller’s Swingtown overtop. the crowd, and the rest of moe. soon joined in. It was a really nice moment, seeing the look of surprise and amusement on the rest of the band’s faces.

The vocal jam soon turned into Recreational Chemistry, which clocked in at a half an hour. Al got on his mini-moog keyboard and Jim Loughlin added texture by playing bass the whole song. It was thick, it was velvety, it was moogy, it was dissonant, it was pleasant. It was all thing musical all at once. Harsh and sweet, loud and soft, this Rec Chem rocked me. I had nothing left at the end of the song. My ears were ringing, my feet were hurting: I couldn’t have been more satisfied.

The band stayed onstage for the encore due to the physical complexities of getting on and off the elevated stage. They did a nice job of Cracker’s “Low”. Very well done. A cherry on top of the musical sundae we had all just devoured.
We turned out into the nice cool night exhausted, satisfied, a little dizzy. Definitely beter off than we were four hours earlier.

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