“One more bottle…For this Happy Hour Hero,” the song about the pretty girl and a shot of Jack, opened up the moe. show at the Stage AE in Pittsburgh last Wednesday night. Although a mellow song for an opener, once the train started chugging, it left the crowd begging for more.
This Buffalo, NY based band does not have the typical “rock star attitude”. They play what they want, when they want, and the fans love it. This band, that started out as a college band at the University of Buffalo, has come a long way. They have found their niche and have been kicking it for over 23 years. They are the definition of road warriors.
Things switched into high gear when the crowd pleaser “Spine of a Dog”, (and one of my personal favorites), began. One typical “moe. move” is to transition into a new song, then jump back to the original song, then once again, return to the previous song. This was done with “Suck a Lemon” into “McBain”, (which sped up the beat dramatically), then back into “Suck a Lemon”, which created a killer 19 minute version. Cheers, very well done. The first set closed with the dynamic “Plane Crash”, a catchy vision of “flying high” in every aspect, and was a perfect set closer. Guitarist Al Schnier’s solo in this song was a high note that led to a 12 minute rendition that you wish would not end.
What I love about any moe. show you attend is the crowds they attract. The misconceptions about drugged out hippies looking to get high and cause trouble I find, still exist. On set break, I met Pittsburgh natives Ralph, Melissa, Kari, and John, fellow moe. fans with a lot of discussion on music, people, and the great city of Pittsburgh. I was flying solo this night and they let me in their circle like one of their own for the night. This is not the first time such a thing has happened at a moe. show. The music really does bring people together. The one thing I have discovered about Pittsburgh, is that residents pride themselves for living here, and have many reasons that they love it.
For second set, they began with the high energy “Timmy Tucker”. Which turned into 24 minutes of jam, dancing, and pure joy. By this time the entire floor was dancing, spinning into the abyss. This is always the high point at a moe. show. Towards the end of the set, came one of my personal favorites, “Meat”, a song which was the result of moe. producing a single for Sony, their record company at the time. The interesting part is that it was a 46 minute single, (now about a 25 minute jam), proving that this band plays by their own rules. This night they interjected a ton of Jim Loughlin’s xylophone mastery into it. Following “Meat”, came “Farmer Ben”, a funky new wave version with Jim Loughlin on the mic rapping in an 80’s style hip hop jam, a very fun tune. The encore was led with a good 30 minutes of “Recreational Chemistry”, done with such a build up, that the crowd was thrust into a virtual trance, that took their ears to new levels. Some of the chord progressions on this one were great. The final tune was the crowd pleaser, “Crab Eyes”! This jam is all about a “cool clean buzz” and always leaves me feeling like I am on a tropical island with a drink, shorts, and flip-flops.
The next show pushes on for moe., as they are playing an acoustic show the following night, then doing some East/Midwest dates including Indiana, Knoxville, Charlotte, and Atlanta. They are heading West with dates that include Seattle, Portland, Lake Tahoe, Los Angeles, and finally back to Las Vegas! All of this is leading up to the spectacular Snoe.Down festival, which is not an ordinary festival by any means. Taking place on the slopes of Killington, Vermont, moe. will be playing on the grounds as well as at the Spartan Arena two nights in Rutland, Vermont. During the day, the crowds can ski to their hearts content and see such great acts as Marco Beneveto, Tauk, Dumpstaphunk, the reuniting of “Strangefolk”, Floodwood (with moe’s own Vinnie Amico & Al Schnier), Eastbound Jesus and more.
Followed by Summer Camp 2013 and Moe.Down 2013, (all of which I will be attending), this band has nothing but love for music, each other, and especially, as Rob frequently says, they would be nothing without their fans.
Happy Hour Hero
Spine of a Dog>
Cant Seem to Find>
Suck a Lemon>
Suck a Lemon
Wind it up