moe. | 04.03 & 04.04 | Boston

Words by: Bill Clifford | Images by: Robert Chapman

moe. :: 04.03 & 04.04 :: House Of Blues :: Boston, MA

Al Schnier - moe. :: 04.04 :: Boston
For many rock bands, growth proves stifling when success is achieved too fast. The well traveled highways and byways of rock music are littered with decaying bands that have come and gone, victims of a broken system that devours its young for immediate sustenance and financial gain, rather than developing and nurturing bands for the long haul.

Like a slow but steadily paced tortoise, New York State-based moe. has outlasted that system for more than 18 years. The long road, winding and crisscrossing the U.S. and other nations, has been an ally in building a dedicated, rabid fan base, affectionately known as MOERONS, which continues to grow, along with the band, at a consistent pace. moe.'s growth was evident both nights this weekend as the band took the stage in Boston at the spectacular new House of Blues. The venue, which holds approximately 2400, was nearly at capacity on Friday night and fully sold out in advance on Saturday.

Friday - 04.03.09

moe. led off Friday night with a pleasant, "Good evening, Boston," from guitarist/vocalist Al Schnier and an upbeat instrumental warm up, "Zed Nought Z," as the crowd rushed in to secure floor space or a balcony view. The large, open floor became packed very quickly, leaving very little personal dance space. "Happy Hour Hero" raised the first loud and rousing cheer from the crowd, a fan favorite that had fists in the air and people chaotically singing along at the top of their lungs to the blissful chorus, the last note of "hero" held for a long count for effect. Schnier's short, sweet pop song "Sticks & Stones" had glow sticks flying through the air from one side of the floor to the other and drew a rise from the crowd when he sang about "hanging out with the family."

moe. :: 04.04 :: Boston
"Nebraska" featured the low rumble of bassist/vocalist Rob Derhak along with the playful slide guitar and talk box effects of guitarist Chuck Garvey, while fans bobbed heads and shook their bodies in rhythm. Set one concluded with a long, highly improvisational intro to "Y.O.Y." that smoothly segued into "Lazarus," which itself built from a slow, ambient dirge to a high-energy rave up that left fans dripping.

Set Two began with the mellow, slow groove of "So Long," which featured an effects laden guitar solo from Garvey before building its way up in tempo to the pop nugget "Not Coming Down," with Schnier hollering out the lyrics, "I think I'm out of my head," getting another cheer from the fans, many who were indeed out of their own heads. The country and western swing of "Tambourine" allowed fans to catch their breath before the three-song medley that closed the set.

"Down Boy" featured percussionist Jim Loughlin banging on several djembes and bongos and Garvey on his Frampton-like talk box effects. It grooved right into "George" with a simple beat and Schnier's chugging guitar before finding its way to the Garvey vehicle "Wind It Up," which began slowly and built in tension and release. It also featured Loughlin tinkering away on the mallatKAT before Garvey tore through a searing solo and the band's trademark triple vocals. It was certainly a high note as the progression found its way back into "George," with Schnier standing on an amp out front for a solo, drawing energy from the crowd.

Friday's encore was "Buster," a jovial splurge through an Orwellian dreamscape where pigs can fly and eat Gouda cheese. It's an upbeat and rambunctious melody that incites some of the most vigorous, inventive dance moves you'll see at a concert anywhere. Another seamless segue brought it back around to where Set Two began, finishing "So Long" to end the night.

04.03.09 (Fri) :: House of Blues :: Cambridge, MA
Set I: Zed Nought Z, Crab Eyes, Happy Hour Hero, Sticks & Stones, Nebraska, Raise a Glass, Okayalright, Y.O.Y. > Lazarus
Set II: So Long > Not Coming Down > Wormwood > Tambourine, Down Boy > George, Wind it Up, George
Encore: Buster > So Long

Saturday - 04.04.09

Nate Wilson with moe. :: 04.04 :: Boston
"The Ghost of Ralph's Mom" was a fine opener choice that was made that much better with the mid-song tease of Led Zeppelin's "Fool in The Rain," which wasn't missed even by the college age crowd. "Hey Boston, you folks seem thoroughly ready for this," said Schnier before a mellow, atmospheric "Jazz Wank" pranced into the similarly dark "Cathedral" featuring the triple, echoed vocals of Garvey, Schnier and Derhak. The tempo and the mood picked up going into the upbeat "St. Augustine," a staple in the moe. rotation that had the audience singing along with the band. Closer "The Road" saw Loughlin move between percussion and the mallatKAT several times and Garvey tearing though a solo. It was a great ending to a set that again left both the packed crowd and band drenched and had Derhak joking, "Good night, everybody. We're done," with a laugh.

The second set will be remembered for its song choices, both for the upbeat, classic moe. songs that inspire free spirited dancing as well as for the long, highly improvisational musical excursions favored by those who appreciate the band's tight musical camaraderie. "Blue Jeans Pizza" featured a percussion solo from Loughlin with the crowd clapping along, as well as Boston's Nate Wilson, of opener the Nate Wilson Group, adding a soulful, funky flair on the organ.

Leaning over a balcony on the second floor, looking down on the packed throng of fans, it was thrilling to view a sea of heads moving and swaying under the spotlights on the buoyant "All Roads Lead To Home." Again, the triple vocal harmonies of Garvey, Derhak, and Schnier had the crowd singing along on "Waiting For The Punchline." A respite of sorts arrived with the dark, somber reflection of "Opium," with fans joining Derhak to sing with passion on the driving chorus. With the stage bathed in golden yellow lights, the meandering guitar interludes from Garvey and Schnier played off one another, while drummer Vinnie Amico kept a steady, cadent beat. They meandered into the similarly spacey "Big World," with Schnier again stepping out front on a monitor and playing to the crowd.

moe. :: 04.04 :: Boston
With Loughlin back on the mallatKAT, they seamlessly transitioned into "Rebubula," one of the band's most beloved pieces, featuring all the best elements of the band: the joyful, jubilant lyrical content, passionately sung and sung-along to vocals, the dual guitar interplay of Garvey and Schnier, the precision rhythm of Derhak, Amico and Loughlin and the slow, climatic tension and release progressions moe. has mastered like very few before have or ever will.

This would have been the icing on any moeron's cake, and many would have been content to call it a night, but the band came back for an encore, including the now-infamous Alnouncements, where Schnier gives shout outs to the fans like, "It's Snapper's 40th birthday. Happy birthday, Snapper." You could be fooled into thinking that more than 2400 fans have a fear of flying if you were in the crowd this night as mostly everyone was singing along with Derhak's passionately sung ode to sedatives, "Plane Crash," which brought the weekend to a rousing close.

2008 was a banner year for moe. that saw them release a studio album and two live records (on the heels of 2007's studio effort The Conch) and tour relentlessly through September. After five months off, the band has returned to the road in 2009, performing short runs and spending less time away from their families. This summer will see the band return to the West Coast for a two week stint, along with the two festivals it hosts (Summercamp and moedown), plus they'll be back on some other festival stages including All Good, Bonnaroo and Gathering of the Vibes. As this weekend in Boston confirmed, at a slow but deliberate pace, moe. has developed into one of this country's finest live acts.

04.04.09 (Sat) :: House of Blues :: Cambridge, MA
Set I: The Ghost of Ralph's Mom > Tailspin, Jazz Wank > Cathedral > St. Augustine, The Road
Set II: Blue Jeans Pizza*, All Roads Lead To Home > Waiting for the Punchline, Opium > Big World > Ricky Martin > Rebubula
Encore: Plane Crash
* with Nate Wilson on keyboards

Nate Wilson Group

Boston's own Nate Wilson Group opened both nights at the House of Blues. He's the former keyboard player for Percy Hill and Assembly of Dust whose talents and classic rock influences are now deservingly front and center. The band's sound leans heavily on the pounding rhythms and riffs of '70s luminaries Cream and Black Sabbath, yet with a modern flair. Wilson possesses a smooth, velvety voice that shined on songs like "Patterns" and the Floyd-like space rock of "The Long Ships." But, where this quartet really opened up was on the stoner rock anthems such as "See It Through" and "Hear The Echoes." Guitarist Adam Terrell was equally adept at driving power chords and wailing, bluesy cries. Bassist Tommy Lada was shredding the paint from the walls throughout their performances, while drummer Tom Arey held everything together. Wilson even took up guitar on the rocking anthem "Sticks and Stones," while Terrell did justice to Clapton on the Cream cover "Tales Of Great Ulysses," which went well over the heads of most of the young crowd. Expect to hear much more from this up and coming New England-based quartet.

moe. tour dates available here.

Continue reading for more pics of moe. in Boston...

Nate Wilson Group
Nate Wilson Group
Nate Wilson Group
Nate Wilson Group
Nate Wilson with moe.
Nate Wilson with moe.

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Comments

Andrew Bruss starstarstarstarstar Tue 4/7/2009 10:15AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Andrew Bruss

Sick writeup Bill! Really gave me a feel for what went down. Wish I coulda been there. KEEP EM COMIN!

onebigicygnar starstarstarstarstar Tue 4/7/2009 10:36AM
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onebigicygnar

Ah. It was such a great weekend. Plane Crash brought the entire house down! Great pictures as well.

louie1827 Tue 4/7/2009 10:40AM
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i do miss me some moe at the orpheum, this place doesnt look like its got any character whatsoever. Show looked sick though

moephishH2O starstarstarstarstar Tue 4/7/2009 10:45AM
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moephishH2O

I cannot WAIT for the West Coast run!

johnnyblaze36 starstarstarstarstar Tue 4/7/2009 10:46AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Best band in the land. Nice pics too. I want to see Al on that double necked guitar. Hopefully at bonnaroo late night!

GeorgieP Tue 4/7/2009 10:48AM
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GeorgieP

Gimme some moe. That Friday night set list looks extra dope. Bonnaroo and GOTV will have me dancing my ass off.

Revpnice starstarstar Tue 4/7/2009 10:57AM
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Revpnice

If moe. plays Lazarus it should be in the review. That is one of their sickest tunes that people dont talk about it.

tourfan Tue 4/7/2009 11:01AM
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Hey Rev .... Did you read the review? It was in the review.

dirtbike1 Tue 4/7/2009 11:09AM
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dirtbike1

Sick guitar al

cheesehead86 Tue 4/7/2009 11:43AM
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looks like some killer set lists. The crowd looks into it, nice article. I cant wait to get my moe fix sometime soon.

Chillybill starstarstarstarstar Tue 4/7/2009 11:50AM
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Chillybill

That was the best written show review on jambase in a long time. Job well done. Cool pics too. HOWEVER!!! This concert did not take place at the House of Blues in Cambridge, MA. That place closed YEARS ago. The new House of Blues is in Boston, on Landsdown, across from Fenway, Boston!

Word

albiknow Tue 4/7/2009 11:50AM
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albiknow

Sounds like they are getting into the groove. I cannot wait for 2 nights in ATL!!!

BGA1 Tue 4/7/2009 12:00PM
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Thanx Moe. for playing the Fillmore in May. The same weekend I will be at Bobolink. Bastards! It's not fair. Just please come back in the fall/winter. PLEASE!

BGA1 Tue 4/7/2009 12:15PM
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Yes Revpnice Lazarus is the song that turned me to a moe.ron. Just now listening to it on archive. Nice Job!!

RothburyWithCheese starstar Tue 4/7/2009 12:34PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

RothburyWithCheese

Nate Wilson Group > Moe.

mesaxi starstarstarstarstar Tue 4/7/2009 01:00PM
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^ you're a moron ^

Those bastards got my Nebraska! I neeeed a Nebraska!!

JammyJammerson Tue 4/7/2009 01:08PM
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moe. has been on fire since their break. Chicago weekend was awesome

state1030 Tue 4/7/2009 01:42PM
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state1030

louie1827 - I was at the orpheum last year and both shows this year at the HOB and i have to tell you the HOB is ten times better. One of the most fun venues Ive been to.

StringCheeseRadio starstarstarstarstar Tue 4/7/2009 01:49PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

StringCheeseRadio

I agree completely! This new HOB blows the Orpheum away in so many ways. This show was awesome!

Streaming SCI & Friends 24/7

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Dire46daysWolf Tue 4/7/2009 02:19PM
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Dire46daysWolf

looks like a "happy" crowd

gmoo Tue 4/7/2009 02:24PM
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gmoo

I section the notion that Lazarus is a gem.

schofizzl Tue 4/7/2009 03:12PM
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schofizzl

hey what happened to those shaggy green rugs they always stand on?

Ilikephish531 starstarstarstarstar Tue 4/7/2009 04:26PM
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Ilikephish531

looks like al dropped a couple during the break there. new guitars AND new pants. cant wait for summercamp!

Ilikephish531 starstarstarstarstar Tue 4/7/2009 04:28PM
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Ilikephish531

wow.... just nodiced. thats a mando/tele. now that is sweet.

peaton Tue 4/7/2009 06:25PM
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peaton

Best 20th birthday ever. In this day in age there seems to be far too much of a dichotomy between the "electronic" jam fans and the classic jam fans, but I think moe is one of the few bands that really appeals to a wide array of folks. Moe=fun times.

Keep it up boys.

timmytucker21 Tue 4/7/2009 08:08PM
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sweeeeeeet the road; leavin us with a plane crash encore until scamp, personally i think the boys could have done better, maybe graffenburg, flo, four; seen plane crash one too many; that encore had a chance to go places. otherwise, nice venue, great crowd besides the noobs that yell out spine of a dog/nebraska...if they play that im blamin you!

TraderDan (djc) Wed 4/8/2009 09:17AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

TraderDan (djc)

To louie1827-

The new HOB puts the Orpheum to shame. There's no comparison... better in every respect, and I believe you will fully understand this once you experience it for yourself.

Also, the Nate Wilson Group totally ripped that shit up! Keep an eye on these guys... they're rising stars for sure!!

Revpnice Wed 4/8/2009 10:19AM
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Revpnice

yes, I stand corrected, it is there.

urthesongthatthemorningbrings Wed 4/8/2009 11:22AM
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urthesongthatthemorningbrings

al got a new guitar? of course jim wears his yankees hat in bean town and gets away with it. great write up and wish i was at this show! can't wait for summercamp!

mooneystar Wed 4/8/2009 11:26AM
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mooneystar

moe. is kinda the only act i really like to see now that is considered "jam" - (i kinda loathe that term - improvisational rock or progressive improvisational rock has less baggage).

They are the only ones that really interest me with their many "moods" they conjure.

mooneystar Wed 4/8/2009 11:28AM
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mooneystar

By the way, Al looks like he's in ripping shape...Guess all his running is paying off! good for him.

sugar17 Wed 4/8/2009 02:00PM
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sugar17

I made it out to the baltimore shows and let me tell you they ripped it one of the best weekends of my life I have to say they are by far the best band out there right now

amn i love these guys

southfork starstarstarstarstar Wed 4/8/2009 02:35PM
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I've gotta tell ya, that was a sick weekend with moe. The place was top notch cool. Perfect size to see and hear a band. It was also filled with moe.rons, so the place smelled great.......Security not an issue. 16oz. beers works for me too. Great time. New lighting guy, interesting, but I may need more in that categorey. He's not trying to do too much, but I don't feel like the lights are that kind of 6th instrument in the band. It looks like moe. is probably going to headline GOTV on Friday night, and has just added some co-headlining dates with RatDog down south. 2thumbsup Clif.

PGH_MOE starstarstarstarstar Wed 4/15/2009 01:13PM
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PGH_MOE

Looks like a good time. I will say I am a little jealous of the boston fans I think you got a better set then I did in Chicago. I can't wait for another great Camp see you MOERONS @ the free show in D.C this weekend.

PEACE