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Words by: Nick Boeka :: Images by: Susan J. Weiand
moe. :: 04.17.07 :: Great American Music Hall :: San Francisco, CA
Closing out an intimate trio of shows, New York's moe. performed to a sold out crowd at the Great American Music Hall before heading to Japan. Working their way up the coast of California with rented gear, the band performed at smaller venues, featuring an exciting mix of classic selections with new material off The Conch.
moe. :: 04.17
The SF event was enhanced by the breathtakingly beautiful décor of the historic Great American. As you look around inside, the elegant architecture, marble columns and elaborate frescoes shine a crimson red when the house lights are dimmed. moe. emerged from this reddish glow to a full yet spacious crowd. Bassist Rob Derhak stood front and center, staring out at everyone, as Chuck Garvey and Al Schnier tuned their guitars. The eager audience immediately began to bounce as the familiar strains of "Stranger than Fiction" hit the room. A couple songs in, moe. brought out what they do best - long, hard, adventurous jams. The Great American's sound is amongst the best in the city, and Derhak was dialed in perfectly. Walking around the floor or rising to the balcony, the music was clear, full and thick. Schnier played his keyboard rig several times in the first set and applied vocal effects to blend with Garvey's harmonies and Derhak's leads.
To close the first set, moe. reached back into their songbook for an abbreviated "Yodelittle" which segued into "Plane Crash." Despite having spent most of the year out supporting The Conch, the band focused predominantly on older material. The happy crowd sang along and hit the changes in stride with the band. During the middle jam section guitarist Josh Clark of SF's Tea Leaf Green joined the fray. It was a three-way lickfest as the trio of axes flexed their power in a blistering rock conversation.
Clark and Schnier :: 04.17
Al Schnier - moe. :: 04.17
When the lights dimmed for the second set, the band wasted no time picking up the groove. A 24-minute "McBain" with a huge jam offered percussionist Jim Laughlin a chance to show off his skill on the vibes. The always reliable jam vehicle "Not Coming Down" was a bit of surprise in the encore spot, yet proved to be an inspiring choice. Before closing the evening with "Rebubula" the band was in a full-on Led Zeppelin mode with a "When the Levee Breaks" jam, that made many folks look around with that "Hey, I know this song" expression.
Jim Laughlin :: 04.17
Afterwards, rather than preparing to travel overseas, the group hung around for a meet-and-greet autograph signing. Schnier reminded his bandmates they better be in the van early the next morning if they wanted to get on the plane for Japan.
While technically it wasn't the cleanest show, with some vocal flubs, misplayed notes and just plain miscommunication (Schnier starting "Rebubula" while Derhak played the "Buster" bass intro) it was always just in the moment and never caused them to miss a beat.
Set 1: Stranger Than Fiction, Moth > Bullet, Another One Gone, Yodelittle > Plane Crash*
Set 2: Spaz Medicine, McBain, Kyle > Bearsong, Where Does The Time Go > Rebubula Jam > Buster
E: Not Coming Down, When the Levee Breaks Jam > Rebubula
*With Josh Clark of Tea Leaf Green on guitar
Check out moe.'s tour dates HERE.
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