moe., Grady Cole Center, Charlotte, NC- 11/8
This was my first show at this venue, an old gym that holds about 2500 people. We had an easy entry into the venue and the show wasn't sold out so there was nice space to move around.
As members of what should have been moe took the stage, the familiar drum beat of "St. Augustine" began. It was very clear to some that this wasn't moe on stage. Others were just grooving to the music. After a majority of the song was played members of moe started to come on stage and jammed leading everyone back into the familiar ground of "St. Augustine." The openers were introduced as Matone who then departed. Next up was the fairly new song titled "Gone," which had some very nice xylophone playing by percussionist Jim Laughlin. Then the band launched into "Kyles Song." "Kyle" was a tune I had been waiting for, one of my favorites (of the past 2 years). This song has a catchy bass line that is complemented well by fine vocals from the bassist himself, Rob Derhak. Initially, guitarist Al Schnier was just clapping along with his guitar hanging at his side. When the band launched into the jam segment of the song, guitarist Chuck Garvey sailed off with a wonderful solo that had his hands moving around the guitar neck in a really impressive manner. At the peak of this jam, the band brought the tempo back down to a mellow funk that segued into "Kids," a very fun tune that is exciting to watch. For me the Kyles song > Kids was the highlight of the first set. They came back down and after a brief pause and played a nice mellow version of "Nonesuch River." This song has a nice country flare to it. The set closer was "Timmy Tucker" as Al and Chuck traded some funky and what I like to call liquid sounding guitar riffs. This version was high energy and more like the album version that the long drawn out live version that you normally hear in second sets- making it appropriate as a set-closer.
After intermission ( which was spent talking to the security guard about the Blues, Robert Randolph and Miles Davis electric or acoustic?) the band came out with a nice version of "Crab Eyes," with a rap by a guy named Grifter. Have no idea who this guy was but it was a nice touch to this tune, which otherwise proved notable for Jim Loughlin's efforts on xylophone. Then a slow groove started and turned into a long but intense intro to "Mexico." At this point the floor crowd started a small glow stick war with the balcony. I think Chuck Garvey might have actually been the instigator on this. Mexico is a tune I'll never get tired of hearing live- an interesting story set to great music. Al took his blistering solo (as Rob likes to call it) and the jam took shape and just keep building and building til it reached its climax and fell into "Cornflake Girl." A newer song and then the band started out with an a capella "I am a pinball machine…", leading the charge into "Spine of a Dog," a very playful tune from the bands younger days, which included audience participation on some of the lyrics, which was very cool. After a short transition led by percussionist Jim Loughlin on the acoustic guitar the band fell into "Water," with Al and Chuck soaring and pushing each other as they traded licks. As the jam slowed down again I heard the opening to "Rebubula." This was a very welcome set closer and moe just ripped through it with intensity, as they moved through each section as the highlight may have been the set closing run from, "Spine of a Dog "> "Water" > "Rebubula."
After a brief break the guys came back onto the stage and thanked everyone for showing up and making this a successful tour. Then Al hit the opening to the BOC tune "Godzilla." It was played in true moe fashion, and in the middle of the song Rob teased "Black Betty" vocally while Chuck was chanting weirdness into his mic. Al played with his moog and sent sounds of Godzilla looping throughout the tune. The second encore song was "She Sends Me," and it was well played with nothing fancy thrown in. Just a solid moe tune to end a solid performance.