Snoe.down, Killington Ski Resort and Rutland Arena – 3/21/-24
Click here for a full gallery from the weekend.
After a year’s hiatus moe.’s snoe.down festival returned to Killington and Rutland Vermont this past weekend. Headliner moe. performed at the Spartan Arena in Rutland, VT (Friday and Saturday nights), on Killington’s Bear Mountain (Saturday afternoon) and delivered an acoustic set at a VIP brunch at the Wobbly Barn in Killington (Sunday morning).
The festivities began with Marco Benevento at the intimate Wobbly Barn on Thursday night. Literally a barn, this small venue featured hardwood floors, a small intimate stage, and three welcoming bars. Benevento opened up with “This Is How It Goes,” a track off his newest album, TigerFace. I was pleased later when he broke out one of my favorites, “It Came From You” off his 2010 album “Between The Needles and Nightfall,” before finishing his energetic set with the crowd pleaser “Limbs Of A Pine,” another song from TigerFace.
Killington ski resort attendees had the chance to ski, snowboard or take part in various activities surrounding the festival including a Snoe.down special Ski/Ride program. All of these were complemented by great music beginning at noon, with Floodwood in the Snowshed lodge. The newgrass-flavored group features moe.’s Al Schnier on guitar and Vinnie Amico on drums along with Hypnotic Clambake alum Zachary Fleitz on bass, Nick Piccininni on fiddle and banjo and Jason Barady of Wooden Spoon on mandolin. They started the set in the lodge, with a landscape of skiers and snowboarders on white powdery bliss; it was a great start of music for the day. They played some cool tunes including the kickoff “In the Gravel Yard,” a progressive tune with lots of folk and plenty of picking. One if my favorites was “Whiskey After Breakfast” which rocked out in a Russian style Cossack dance vibe. I also enjoyed “Revolving Door”, which has some “moe.-ish” elements to it. Here’s hoping an album will follow soon.
In the K1 lodge was Tauk, a New York City band with a distinct blend of jazz, funk and rock. This band may be fairly new to the scene, but has already been on some major bills and will be on the roster at Summer Camp 2013.
Jimkata kicked off the second afternoon set in the snoe shed lodge. This is one band to keep an eye on, as they really killed it. If I were to compare them to any other bands I would say Umphrey’s meets Lotus, meets U2. I saw influence of all three groups during their performance. They’re a song/lyric oriented electro-rock band with lots of bass, electric sounds, and drums for extra intensity. The retro disco backdrop added to the vibes. They opened with “Night Shade” a great song from their latest 2012 release.
The events continued at the Spartan Arena in Rutland with opener, Dumpstphunk. A bit later the group’s Ivan Neville took the stage with moe. for “Happy Hour Hero” and a cover of The Meters “Cissy Strut” during the first set. The show had its usual moe. energy with upbeat solos. Other highlights included a great rendition of “Recreational Chemistry” and one of my personal favorites, “St. Augustine.”
On Saturday, moe. played an outdoor afternoon set at the base of Bear Mountain. The day started with four inches of beautiful new snow, a treat for all the skiers. Upstate New York newcomers, Eastbound Jesus began the day. The stars then aligned perfectly as moe. took the stage. In a true representation of what Snoe.down is all about, the weather agreed and started dumping snow on the crowd. By the end of the set there was a blanket of crisp new snow.
Night two of the Spartan Arena began with the reunited Strangefolk, who opened with a fine version of “Elixer” and matched their initial energy throughout their set. This band has a long history with moe. and that later came through when the group’s Jon Trafton and Reid Genauer stepepd onstage during moe.‘s first set for a beautiful 13 minute jammed out version of The Band’s “Up on Cripple Creek,” followed by “Mexico.”
moe. took the stage right on time and wasted no time jamming into the first tune, “32 Things.” Closing out set one with the Strangefolk sit in, set two began with “Buster,” the happy swine that wore fancy clothes and ended with the wrath of “Godzilla”. In between We got tons of high energy jams- in particular a stretch from “Brent Black” > “Mar De-Ma” > “Brent Black” > “Meat” > “Brent Black.” They were on their A-game, even tossing in some Led Zeppelin references.
If you came to snoe.down and did not attend the VIP Wobbly Barn brunch Sunday morning, you missed out on what to my eyes (and ears), was the highlight of the entire weekend. Envision a couple hundred moe.rons on a Sunday morning after three days of great music, partying and skiing, gathered in a rustic old barn for a home-cooked breakfast, complete with Bloody Mary’s and an acoustic set from moe. What could be a better close to a festival than this? It was a Bloody Mary morning for sure (I made mine a double) and the food was divine. Cheers to Michael at the Wobbly Barn for being so accommodating. That venue is a hidden gem; if you haven’t been there, check it out. That said, we got a few treats on this one with an acoustic version of “Farmer Ben” and “Casey Jones” (sung by Vinnie). What I love about this band is that they are real musicians being real people and they respect one another (no egos). Most importantly, they respect their fans. In typical Rob fashion he ended with: “Thank you and everyone get home safe.” Cheers to the moe.rons, hope to see everyone again next year.