Ominous Seapods :: 1:00–2:15 p.m. :: Main Stage
Along with other New York bands such as moe., Blues Traveler and God Street Wine, Ominous Seapods blazed a path across the country for a new generation of jam bands that followed their lead. This band (along with DiFranco) was the second act that played the inaugural moe.down to make a return this year. Based on their high energy, jam infused rock set, you'd never had known they've only played sporadically since 2001. The Seapods' Sunday set was filled with songs from their five CDs, and "Keep In Mind" into "Cary Suite" opened the day on the Main Stage. Rhythmic piano and dense Hammond were featured early on. Soaring guitars drove "Waiting For The Bomb To Drop" to anthemic heights. What made the set all the more exciting was the look on the members' faces as they played, beaming smiles at each other. "John Henry's Hammer" featured blues drenched guitars and steady drumming. Their cover of Iggy Pop's "Lust For life" was a highlight of the day, with the frontman flopping with energy all over the stage just like Iggy. The twin guitars on the set closing "Leaving The Monopole" were eerily reminiscent of moe.'s Garvey and Schnier. Here's hoping this isn't the last we'll see or hear from the Ominous Seapods.
Matthew Sweet :: 3:00–4:15 p.m. :: Main Stage
Mathew Sweet put on a strong rock performance Sunday afternoon. Disappointingly, much of the crowd that stood in front of the stage seemed way too young to be familiar with any of the songs he played, despite the fact that many were radio hits. With a blazing sun beaming down, all four members took the stage dressed in black. The opening song, "Divine Intervention," had religious overtones ("When he comes the sun shines"), and looking at the blue sky overhead one wondered if he choose to open with this tune specifically for that very reason. It seemed Sweet and his band were a bit out of practice as the harmonies on "We're The Same" were off, but on "Pull The Trigger," his rumination on finding a way out of a bad situation, the lead vocal was lovely. He paid homage to his influences when covering Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl," with driving, loud rocking guitars. This drew a huge cheer from the crowd. However, the lesser-known cover of Mott The Hoople's "All The Young Dudes" got less of a cheer despite the harmony vocals that seemed to be more in tune by this time.
Umphrey's McGee :: 5:30–7:00 p.m. :: Main Stage
If moe. has an equal on the jam band scene, Umphrey's McGee is that band. The musical proficiency and technical dexterity with which they play their respective instruments and the numerous time and key changes within their songs highlight this band's skills. Unfortunately, their early set time meant they were playing sans lighting, which as any fan knows is a big part of this band's performances. Instrumental opener "Professor Wormbog" featured rhythmic, bouncy keyboards and fast, pounding drums. On "Prowler," the dueling, fast guitars of Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger wailed, but in a funky manner rather than the metallic style they're known to play. That segued into "Push The Pig," their quirky take on a backyard BBQ. The three-part vocal harmonies on "Mantis" showcased the synergy of the band, while their take on the Talking Heads' "Making Flippy Floppy" seemed to go over the heads of many of the young fans in the crowd.
|Matthew Sweet :: moe.down 10|
Umphrey's McGee | 09.06
Professor Wormbog, Plunger > The Floor, Prowler > Push the Pig, 40's Theme, Mantis, Making Flippy Floppy* > 1348
* w/ Entrance of the Gladiators teases
Nate Wilson Group :: 7:00–8:00 p.m. :: Second Stage
The Sunday highlight over at the Second Stage was definitely Nate Wilson Group. This band is making a bid to bring '70s classic rock back in full force. The heavy bass laid down by Tomy Lada drove the rocking opener "Sticks and Stones," while "Scatterbrain" found the wailing guitar of Adam Terrell balanced by Nate Wilson's thick keyboards. The lyric, "I try to chase the sound pollution from my mind," drew a huge cheer from the large crowd. A psychedelic swirl of guitar and keyboards moved into the new song "Giants," which began slow and mellow, almost spooky, then picked up and became very Floyd-ian in tone, with long, rhythmic swells of organ, bass and guitar. Dexterous drums were highlighted on "For The Sun" alongside Wilson's atmospheric vocals. Much like Umphrey's McGee before them, their choice of a cover song, Cream's "Tales of Great Ulysses," likely wasn't even recognized as a cover by many in the predominantly young crowd. Nonetheless, the Nate Wilson Group certainly introduced itself to a large number of new fans with its moe.down performance.
moe. :: 8:00–9:30 p.m. :: Main Stage
It was finally Chuck Garvey's turn to open a set. As the band joined him, it was easy to hear where Garvey was leading with his solo as he nuanced his way into "Shoot First," a song fans picked up on right away with a cheer. Garvey's slide playing was a highlight here, along with his resounding vocals. It's always a fun challenge at a moe. concert to bet amongst your group of friends where they're going with the jams between songs. A fan next to me called "Bearsong," and he was right. This was a Garvey set, where his guitar solos were off the wall. "Borderline" is a new Derhak song that sounded as though they've been playing it for years. Fast and upbeat, it featured fine guitar and awesome three-part harmonies, and it has huge potential as a future concert staple. With guitarists Jake Cinninger, Brendan Bayliss and percussionist Andy Farag from Umphrey's joining the band, they melted minds on closer "She."
|moe. :: moe.down 10|
moe. | 09.06 Set I
Garvey solo > Amico > Loughlin > Derhak > Schnier > Shoot First > Bearsong, Borderline*, Bullet, Hector's Pillow > Ricky Marten > Second Cousins > Runaway Overlude, She*
* w/ Bayliss, Cinninger and Farag from Umphrey's McGee
moe. :: 10:00–12:00 p.m. :: Main Stage
moe. began their last set at moe.down, as they always do, by choosing a new Mayor of moe.ville. Then they opened with fan favorite "Timmy Tucker," which signaled that the band was winding down for the weekend by pulling out all the classics. Derhak lost track of his vocals and began to scat while looking over to Schnier, who was wiping sweat off his hands with a towel. "Be-dep-da-dep, da-dep-dep-dep/ Al's cleaning his hands now/ I just lost all the words," he laughed and shared smiles with the rest of the band before coming right back into it without missing a beat. Keyboardist Nate Wilson sauntered onstage almost unnoticed during "Sensory Deprivation Bank" to add deep keyboard funk, and then remained onstage for the rest of the set. His Hammond playing added a fluid element to "Happy Hour Hero." "St. Augustine" featured more slide playing from Garvey and deft finger picking from Schnier. Wilson really leaned into the Hammond on "The Road," while Derhak and Amico held it all together on the low end. Set and festival closer "Rebubula" was certainly a highlight. Beginning with slow and spacey guitars, the tune didn't take shape until Garvey lit into the familiar chords and the glow sticks were launched to the stars. Amico's skins and Derhak's bass were tight and the audience singing along in unison matched the lead vocal in intensity.
A gorgeous yellow moon hung over the stage as the band walked off after its final set. Mother Nature had blessed us with one of her most amazing weekends of the entire summer, and moe. and all the other artists delivered a bounty of music that no one will soon forget.
moe. | 09.06 Set II
Timmy Tucker, Seat of My Pants > Sensory Deprivation Bank * > Happy Hour Hero*, Not Coming Down * > Wormwood * > St. Augustine *, The Road *
E: Rebubula *
* w/ Nate Wilson
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