Words by Brian Heisler :: Images by Adam George

moe. & The Disco Biscuits :: 02.03.06 :: Aragon Ballroom :: Chicago, IL

Jon Gutwillig :: 02.03.06
It was one of those dates you marked on your calendar the day the tour was announced. Friday of Super Bowl weekend at the classic Aragon Ballroom, only shortly after Umphrey's McGee had christened the venue for the new year. Even the guys from Umph would pen this date into their vacation. At 5 p.m., two hours before opening, the line outside the Aragon was already well established down the alley in the 43° rain and snow as Chicago prepared for a long night.

The quartet that made the bill stand out took to the stage with few words and much fury, as The Disco Biscuits blasted the Chicago crowd, rewarding them for the long, cold wait like a warm fire in the company of old friends. Guitarist Jon Gutwillig got comfy as well, performing in his socks. "What's the new drummer's name?" a fan asked about the community's newest friend. His name is Allen Aucoin, and in his first trip to the Windy City with the newly reformed Bisco, he absolutely validated his position, cutting, carving, and carrying the eclectic jams seamlessly. Like one continuous jam, from the opener, "The Overture," to the closer, "Story of the World," the crowd got up and got down from stage left to stage right, and the Philadelphia sea of sound whet the appetites for the New York main course.

moe. :: 02.03.06
Wasting no time, moe. got right to work with "Plane Crash" to start things off, as if to say, "Let's keep this vibe going." In a unique frenzy it waited all week to find, the Chicago audience took the vibe to a new level as every soul flowed collectively and relentlessly. A small cluster of balloons surfaced during "It Again and Again," acknowledging that the party was well under way. In another great rush and a classic moe. sing-along, the crowd again erupted, and everyone did indeed feel "Okayalright." By the fourth song, "Waiting for the Punchline," the sweat had definitely set in among the crowd for even the calmest of attendees, and the endorphins were cooking as moe. feverishly jammed out the piece and the moe.rons soaked it up.

Derhak & Bayliss :: 02.03.06
In 1986, in the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Ferris (Matthew Broderick) claimed the identity of Abe Froman, the sausage king of Chicago. Twenty years later, on Umphrey's McGee's day off, guitarist Brendan Bayliss (who resides in Chicago with the rest of Umphrey's), was invited to the stage during "Moth." It was almost three years ago (May 2, 2003) that UM was part of a signature moe. band rotation, as each member of moe. was swapped for a member of Umphrey's at the Orpheum Theater in New Orleans during "Faker" and switched back to moe. during UM's "Glory." Locking face-to-face with moe. guitarist Al Schnier, Bayliss meshed a solo into the set closer, pausing the show for a much-needed breather for both the band and the crowd.

Aron Magner (Disco Biscuits) :: 02.03.06
Continuing with the neighborhood jam theme, Bisco's Aron Magner opened the second set on keys with moe. With fans perfectly fresh for another round of grooving, Magner helped jam "McBain" to a hysterical crowd explosion. Under a blood-red background, the Chicago audience was treated to moe.'s first version of Radiohead's "Karma Police" in 2006. While the band has played this tune many times in the past, one could not help but make the cross music scene connection as Radiohead, along with many other indie and mainstream artists, were announced this week for Bonnaroo. Fans love to debate the logistics of such situations, but it is always interesting to see artistic appreciation from one group to another, especially in diverse and unique situations. The song's ambiance definitely gave a new feeling and a different approach to the night as the band moved into a dark, mystic outro as if from a scene of a Broadway homicide production.

moe. :: 02.03.06
moe. slid right back into their own work of art in "Bullet" with a suspenseful buildup, maybe to make the crowd wait for "the main event." Al moved to the keys, molding the song with a marimba effect. In what had become a marathon night, fans seemed to take turns dancing and resting like a relay in a poorly organized Olympic event. Of course the night would not have been complete without the bedtime story of "Timmy Tucker," as told by master storyteller Rob Derhak. The sing-along continued. In an encore that lasted until 1:35 a.m., the crowd challenged the sound crew to allow Rob to sing over the belting of the Chicago audience on "Godzilla." Each lyric was well emphasized to make sure to get every last bit of energy out of the Aragon Ballroom. And with a wave goodbye, the crowd left the Aragon. Amazingly enough, diehards were still able to trot across the street to top the night off with Alan Vasquez and Groovatron.

Chicago's own looping phenom, Alan Vasquez, had just finished his set when the majority of the Aragon filtered out to fill the Kinetic Playground. For back to back nights, Groovatron followed moe.'s performance, including guest appearances by Al and Rob at The Canopy Club in Champaign, IL. In the Windy City, members of moe. and Umphrey's McGee could be found in the intimate club, keeping the night alive until 3:30 a.m. On a bone-chilling night in Chicago, moe. and Bisco brought about as much music and action as one could hope to find in the dead of a Midwest winter.

Here's looking forward to Summer Camp!

JamBase | Chicago
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[Published on: 2/16/06]

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theivywall starstarstarstarstar Thu 2/16/2006 06:49PM
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yeah, bisco was the heat and karma police, bullet>timmy tucker closer was great. that was a good show.

Musicluva Thu 2/16/2006 09:17PM
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Great great article. It brought me back to many-a-hot moE. nights. It's nice to see the old schoolers still mixing it up with the kidz.

Keep on rocking in the free world!!!!!

philbrow starstarstarstar Fri 2/17/2006 07:23AM
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Some of us might just remember Bonnaroo '04 when moe. switched out for the Umph setbreak and then Umphrey's switched back in. So, your reference is not entirely correct.

Ston starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/17/2006 07:35AM
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A good friend and I drove from Minneapolis for that night alone. 13 hours of driving for 23 hours in Chicago was worth all the effort, lack of sleep, and lack of respect for our well being. Bisco is back and the only thing I would've mentioned above was a kick ass Save the Robots which has me still yelling, "GO!" Don't forget a pretty solid Caterpillar! Moe??? Get your asses back to Mpls!!!

Dizon311 starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/17/2006 07:56AM
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Dam wish I was at this show.... They should repeat the line up so I can Go.....HEHEHEHE! HOLLA

stevemasten starstarstarstar Fri 2/17/2006 12:25PM
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This show was excellent.
Is it just me, or did the Aargon blow up when Brendan Bayliss took his solo?

I remember Rob motioning to the soundguy to turn Bayliss up about 3 times. When finally REALLY turned him up, Brendan schooled every guitarist in the Aaragon that evening!

phried starstarstarstar Fri 2/17/2006 07:37PM
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moe. was gr8. it was a very good show all together.

shacklefordwantsapizza starstarstarstar Sun 2/19/2006 05:21PM
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eeeewwee! what a show, magner and bayliss' contributions did not go unnoticed. especially enjoyed robs simple and elegant t-shirt proclaiming "TAINT", gotta get me one of them. See ya'll at summer camp...

mcshants starstarstarstarstar Sun 2/19/2006 09:35PM
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I left this show blow away. my first time seeing both moe. & bisco live and they gave me a night i'll remember forever. the crowd just roared when brendan from umphreys came out it was like new years deja voo. everybody was just lettin it all out that night. chicagoo!

cire starstarstarstar Mon 2/20/2006 11:10AM
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Great, great show! In all honesty it had nothing on Bisco in Denver the next night. Talk about a rage fest. I hope Jambase had someone reviewing that show, it was a classic!

Summer Camp will be the shiznit this year! See ya there.

Zcolip starstarstarstarstar Mon 2/20/2006 12:50PM
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All I have to say is OKAYALRIGHT OKAY ALRIGHT!!!! This show was absolutely sick.

meatstick66 Mon 2/20/2006 05:34PM
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Plane Crash opener and the George in the second set. It was nuts. MOE has done it again. I hope to see everyone at summercamp.

mikedzie starstarstarstarstar Wed 2/22/2006 05:55AM
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Awesome show...i passed out midway thru moe.s first set but i was back out there. it was hot as hell

jborro starstarstarstarstar Thu 2/23/2006 08:08PM
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I was able to make it from 2nd night of cincy all the way to st louis, I was taking photos, 17 megapixels. moe. is hot right now, definitely a good time to give a listen.
photos by Joseph Vala:

Funkshoe starstarstar Fri 2/24/2006 04:22AM
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I can't believe all these posts and no mention of the raging Lazarus. Damn that shit was hot!!! Great show all in all, but I thinks the Brendan appearance is being played up a little. Go back and listen, it ain't all that. Good. But not all that. Bisco rocked.WAITIN FOR SUMMERCAMP !!!!

PhineusBarnum Fri 2/24/2006 11:31AM
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dude, they are called the disco biscuits, bisco is an entirely different thing from the band.