moe. with Magic Beans, Ogden Theater, Denver, CO- 12/6
moe. has reliably made Colorado a part of their annual winter tour schedule since the late 90’s. This year was no exception. We were treated to two nights at what has become their winter home in Denver, the Ogden Theater. At times the group has had trouble gaining a real foothold in Colorful Colorado although the dedicated moe.rons will always make it out. This particular run happened to fall smack dab in one of coldest streaks we’ve had in Denver this year. As we drove down from Fort Collins, the mercury was dipping well below zero.
The Magic Beans are a Boulder band that has made great strides in developing a devoted fan base on the Front Range. Their bouncy jam infused sound is wholly approachable and quite enjoyable. They opened with their original, “Luck” that featured Casey Russell trading licks on the keys with Hunter Welles on guitar.
Their four-song set stretched to just under an hour as the crowd quickly filled in to near-capacity. Their set was a great demonstration of what The Magic Beans do well. A very clean show that culminated with a huge “Who’s Crazy.” The version was a great musical juxtaposition of their tight but relaxed sound and the frenetic rage jam that they are also known for. It also had a striking “Con Te Patiro” tease. They finished just before 10 PM. Keep an eye on these guys, as they continue to develop and reinvent themselves with each live performance. They are a lot of fun.
Fans that went outside were slapped in the face with a frostbite inducing -8 degrees. Many opted to hunker down and wait for moe. They opened with a healthy “Tubing The River Styx” and brought the power early. “The Pit” went to the dark side and allowed the boys to flex their musical muscles. The band simply exploded into an amazing “Kyle’s Song.” The jam stretched on filling up an entire twenty minutes with multiple teases including a sly riff on “Bird Song.” And without missing a note the band launched into a sinister and intense “Bear Song.” They gave a nod to Lou Reed with a “Walk On The Wild Side” tease. It just seemed like the band was really having fun, which will always transmit to the crowd. Fans were finally able to catch their breath during the slower, Al Schnier-sung “Lost Along The Way.” They went back into high gear with a tight “Tailspin” before the very suitable closer “Timmy Tucker.” This first set of music was at a very high caliber and a great indication of what was to come.
During the break kids debated weather a smoke was worth the bone-chilling cold. Others simply mingled with their neighbors. After a short wait they came back to the stage with the brooding classic “Big World.” moe. wasted no time by segueing beautifully into a ridiculously funky “Rickey Marten.” The unexpected highlight came in the form of Pink Floyd’s “Time,” which has been played sporadically since 2000. After a brief “Hi and Lo” they busted out “Oh Hanukah” that featured some sick surf drum riffs from Vinnie Amico. This instrumental had not been played in 643 shows. “McBain” was another journey into the deep, going a full 19 minutes with all the boys settling in nicely. It also featured some of the best back and forth guitar work of the night with both Chuck and Al taking it to the extreme on their instruments. “Down Boy” into the “Billy Goat” closer was another high point in a great show.
After Alnouncements, moe. encored with a straight forward “Spine Of A Dog” before saying their goodbyes. The first set was the obvious winner, but the entire show was just solid. Musically there are very few bands that are as tight as moe. They’ve been together for so long and play with each other so consistently that there is an apparent effortlessness to every performance. Their first night in Denver was totally worth braving the cold.