Check out moe. performing "Seat of My Pants" on JamCam.

Words by: Ann Svilar :: Images by Susan J. Weiand

moe. & New Monsoon :: 09.22.06 :: The Warfield San Francisco, CA

"So what do you love about moe.?" It's the kind of question I direct towards the kind of guy I suspect to be full of the answers.

The kid with the well-worn moe. shirt, shaggy hair, and big smile says, "Man, they just make me feel good. That's all. I know that's cheesy but..."

And I must agree. There is one thing you can say about moe., and it is that their music makes people feel good.

moe. :: 09.22.06 :: SF by Susan J. Weiand
So it's fitting that these "Five Guys Named moe," Chuck Garvey (guitar, vocals), Jim Loughlin (percussion, acoustic guitar), Rob Derhak (bass, vocals), Vinnie Amico (drums), and Al Schnier (guitar, vocals, keys), would revisit San Francisco in no other place but The Warfield. It's a happy place, having housed the greatest in rock 'n' roll history, where you can gaze at photos of San Francisco-based bands, Jerry Garcia laughing with Bonnie Raitt, and Michael Houser sitting on The Warfield's stage. With ticket stub in hand and anticipation for the upcoming show, you can stand and reminisce about those times you were lucky enough to be there or regretting if you weren't. A certain eager anticipation accompanies the setting of The Warfield. It's a historical place, and I could only assume, judging by Rob Derhak's comment in the first set, "This place doesn't sound too bad does it?" that it must feel like a privilege to play here too.

New Monsoon :: 09.22.06 :: SF by Susan J. Weiand
Local band, New Monsoon, started the night off promptly with a set that included a blend of acoustic and electric instruments, mandolin and impressive guitar riffs, steady keyboard solos and the much talked-about highlight, Led Zeppelin's "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp." By the end the band didn't have to ask us to clap our hands; we were already doing it. "moe.rons" drifting in were probably thinking this was the wrong show to miss the opening band. There were moments when I oddly thought of Pink Floyd, and there were moments when I thought of something a little grittier. New Monsoon was a blend of many sounds, ending their set with a song that was a little too bluegrass on speed, but they collected enough to end the show with the crowd ready for more. We were ready for moe.

Chuck Garvey :: 09.22.06
By Susan J. Weiand
A glass of red wine in hand, Chuck Garvey led the band onstage, smiles on their faces, nonchalant waves to the crowd, and a "32 Things" opener. Continuing the high-energy groundwork set by New Monsoon, "32 Things" was the perfect beginning. Heads were bobbing to this lively song with a fast tempo and a Les Claypool sort of emphasis on the bass guitar, making it obvious that Rob Derhak is not the kind of guy who decided to play bass because his buddy was better than him at guitar. Throughout the entire night, his bass guitar rested on his belly like it was a pillow on his lap, comfortable and familiar, something put to excellent use, the stage's centerpiece.

In fact, it's hard to argue with the overall musicianship of moe. Each person carries their weight and shines in their moment, even down to the lights changing on beat with each change in chord (thanks to lighting director Jeff Waful). It's been a while since I paid such close attention to the lights; they give color to the picture, and if Friday's show was a painting, these lights were the fine lines that make the details clearer.

Al Schnier :: 09.22.06
By Susan J. Weiand
The band works together in a very old-hat sort of way that could only come from being well into their second decade of playing together. Al Schnier and Chuck Garvey's guitars complement each other, with Vinnie Amico and Jim Loughlin setting a nice foundation and Rob Derhak somewhere in the middle. They match their audience - part wide-eyed youthful energy that is light-hearted and seems freshly out of high school, part long grey beard and loose-fitting t-shirt that says, "We've been here a while, you should have seen it back in '92."

"Light-hearted" is a good way to describe the band and the first set Friday night, which included a joke about a "Benny Hill" skit and a "We're veterans" comment when Chuck Garvey admitted to losing his slide after the slide-heavy "Tambourine."

"Wind It Up" followed with one sentence so similar to lyrics in "Down by The River" and repeated enough that the wide-eyed youthful face next to me eagerly tapped my arm and asked if they just covered a Neil Young song. "Be on my side, I'm on your side." "Wind It Up" was a sweet groove with clear changes and a growing momentum. Jim Loughlin's percussive variety was a particular highlight, accentuated with xylophone between the breaks in lyrics.

Obviously excited to open for The Who, moe. closed out their first set with New Monsoon filtering back onstage as the two groups combined for a rock & roll "Eminence Front." Even with multiple bodies on stage, musically there was plenty of room, again a testament to the musicianship of the band(s).

moe. with New Monsoon :: 09.22.06 :: The Warfield, SF
By Susan J. Weiand
After a long set break, a friend commented, "You know how jambands are, anything goes." As I started to get restless, moe. returned to their respective positions, opening with "Rebubula," which would also close out the continuous set six songs later, a well-packaged sandwich. But it was also during the second set that I began to feel a little helpless. Maybe it was the long set break, maybe it was that everyone had been standing and dancing since eight o'clock, but as an audience member, I felt somehow powerless. The band on paper was doing everything right, but I didn't feel right there with them like I had earlier in the show. There was a slight momentum drop. It made me think of Widespread Panic in 2003, closing out the year before a short touring break. For a drawn out "Mercy," Derek Trucks was on stage. The song was beautiful, the band was playing everything on point, but I looked around and a lot of people looked sleepy.

Rob Derhak :: 09.22.06
By Susan J. Weiand
This is the same helpless feeling I felt Friday night. There were heads moving, there were certainly people dancing wildly, but overall the crowd was mellow. It felt like there was some sort of disconnect between the energy on stage and the energy of the crowd, even with highlights like "Seat of My Pants," a fun blend of reggae sounds and rock, and before that, "Wormwood," during which I was glad to see Chuck Garvey found his guitar slide or at least had a back-up in time for the soft instrumental song that is thought-provoking and nostalgic in the best of ways. Somewhere in the sound of a slide there is that something that can make one feel wistful, and I hope Chuck Garvey always comes to his shows in the future with a case full of back-up slides.

As I spend time reflecting on the show, I think about the importance of the audience to live performance. Would it have been a different show if it had been closer to their home on the East Coast? Judging by the doorman's comment, "Hey, what's with all you Colorado people tonight?" moe. is a band that makes people travel. Inevitably live shows touch people in different ways, which is part of why live music is so addictive. What makes it epic is when a show touches the crowd altogether on that one crowning song or sometimes on multiple moments. moe.'s second set was solid, but it didn't have that epic kind of feel.

moe. :: 09.22.06 :: The Warfield, SF
By Susan J. Weiand
Finally, in a gracious style that makes moe. the kind of band you would invite over for a Saturday barbeque, the encore started with a "Thank you for giving a shit, we appreciate it," and a farewell kind of song, "Good Trip" into "It." In time for a 1:30 curfew, the show was over.

The guy with the well-worn moe. shirt, shaggy hair, and big smile has thought more deeply about my question earlier, "So what do you love about moe.?"

"moe. just feels good," he says now. "Their lyrics, combined with precise rhythmic changes, takes the audience through melodic sing-along jams to hard-driving arena rock, all in the same beer."

"Okay," I say, letting the night wrap around again in my head, song by song. "I can agree with that."

JamBase | The Warfield
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[Published on: 9/29/06]

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kvoelkel Sat 9/30/2006 06:39AM
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I have to agree with you Ajohnson, I have given them two chances and one I did walk out on, and the other I was waiting for Yonder to come on. Just not for me I guess

nick Sat 9/30/2006 07:21AM
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cant wait for the hampton beach run!!!!!i dont know WTF your talking about every time ive seen them this year it was high energy risk taking music that kicked birds

insignia starstarstarstarstar Sat 9/30/2006 08:10AM
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well u say moe is worst band u ever seen. i say u crazy, they the best band i ever seen. ive seen them 4 time and everyone was excellent, could never walk out on moe
2 nights of moe on thanksgiving!!!!

Chaloupka Sat 9/30/2006 09:38AM
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The reason people looked sleepy when the author looked around is that moe shows are boring. Dumb lyrics and boring melodies don't make for a good show, especially when they jam on the same damn chord progression for 20 minutes.

fydo1974 starstarstar Sat 9/30/2006 10:31AM
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After much internal debating, I bought a ticket at the last minute just to see New Monsoon and left right after their set. I had no desire to see moe. It was the least crowded I had ever seen The Warfield, and none of the "Colorado people" seemed to know who they were, but New Monsoon didn't let that bother them. I'm kinda bummed that I missed the "Eminence Front," but I doubt that it would have been worth sitting through the rest of the first set. I'm looking forward to seeing them at the Fillmore early next year!

Matthew Jaworski starstarstarstar Sat 9/30/2006 12:39PM
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Matthew Jaworski

Nice article. I was a moe fan back in the day, before Phish completely took over my life. I hadn't seen moe since the early 90's, but I got a chance to see them this summer in Central Park, NYC, and I was totally blown away. They were phenomenal and completely exceeded my expectations.

I don't know how this contributes to this thread, but I'm bored at work.

okalrightic starstarstarstar Sat 9/30/2006 03:44PM
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Just like any other band (except for Umphrey's McGee) moe. has their off nights from time to time. As a veteran of almost 20 moe. shows I suggest that all the haters give them another chance. These guys have it all, they are some of the classiest dudes on the scene, and they appreciate their fans way more than most bands.

btw, really well written article...

McGannahan_Skyjellifetty Sat 9/30/2006 04:45PM
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is somebody actually comparing the mars volta with moe????

ladymoe starstarstar Sat 9/30/2006 06:38PM
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moe. ROCKS - flat out. i feel that maybe sometimes people loose their connection with the music throughout the show and it doesn't always have to do with the band. sometimes it just takes a little bit more on the part of the listener to see under the skin. moe. is not all sugar coated and safe like a lot of other jam bands. their music is authentic and real and not a lot of bullshit. and imo that is what makes moe. the best band ever.

tehdead starstarstarstar Sat 9/30/2006 08:45PM
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you havent see a good moe show until youve seen a moe show in buffalo ny thoes people who have know what i am talking about they bring soo much energy and happpyness to the crowd which is why i think moe is so great. my only complaint about moe is at some shows a poor song choice like going from a high energy crab eyes then into a slow pace song like lost along they way. if ur gunna get the crowd going keep it going dont stop thats my only complaint about moe.

mjmatthe Sat 9/30/2006 10:25PM
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mars volta being compared to moe makes me want to puke. Moe rocks my socks!

Treetophigh Sun 10/1/2006 12:09AM
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that pic is uplarious
just got back from waters at deer creek
and space still rollin in my head
that pick had me rollin on the floor

roger waters whooped all thier asses folks

QuantumTuba starstarstarstarstar Sun 10/1/2006 01:40PM
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I love New Monsoon. Have seen them twice and they are by far the best band around. As for moe. everything that I have heard by them is phenomenal, but I have yet to see them live. I sure hope they come to my neck of the woods soon.

JRay starstarstarstarstar Sun 10/1/2006 05:27PM
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Great Article and a Wonderful Story.
I like the honesty and appreciate all the views
by the writer and also by those commenting.

prov55 starstarstarstarstar Sun 10/1/2006 06:22PM
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Well written article. Pretty lame comments (I'm looking at you Ajohnson, fydo, et al). I know what its like to get tired at a show, although it has never happend to me at moe. I also believe that when you are tired, everybody else seems a bit out of it too. Perhaps is was perception, for I heard others say the joint was hoppin. Anyway, just glad to see some good music writing about moe. Thanks JB/Ann.

anemett starstarstarstarstar Sun 10/1/2006 06:48PM
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great review. i was at the show and felt the same way: solid, light-hearted first set had me ready for an epic 2nd set, but somehow the energy dropped and i felt disconnected. still, had a great time as always!!

nershi6string starstarstar Sun 10/1/2006 07:13PM
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moe. has there ups and downs i have seen them 10 times and some of the best shit i have ever seen has been from moe. but at the same time i have been very bored at moe. shows and considered leaving this year at summercamp especially all the other bands just tore it up then moe just flat out didnt. and as far as mars volta people open your eyes look beyond this bullshit "hippie" sterotype of only liking certain bands mars volta is one of the most talented bands around today not really my thing but u have to give them props

meches starstarstarstarstar Sun 10/1/2006 08:20PM
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nice article! moe. just makes me happy too. wish i had been there this time

trini. starstar Sun 10/1/2006 08:47PM
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Well ... personally one of my most favorite moe shows to date. New Monsoon helped make it the perfect evening. If you feel bad energy, try moving ... or leaving so you don't spread your dissapointed vibes to others. I thought the atmosphere was rockin' ... Moe and New Monsoon? Couldn't ask for a better evening!

(Mars Volta:Moe? Good comparison there buddy).

theivywall Sun 10/1/2006 10:48PM
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I for one love both New Monsoon and moe. a lot, but I can see what people feel about some of their jams. They do get a bit repetitive...but than again other times they're off the hook awesome jams. I think moe. just doesn't force a powerful sound, they wait for it to happen, and sometimes the ULTIMATE sound just isn't happening. moe.'s real great.

The Glick Mon 10/2/2006 08:16AM
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The Glick

It was sleepy in the Warfield that night. Chuck was off to the side of the stage yawning at one point. His next move was on top of the speaker, I assume to try to liven up himself and the crowd? Not the best moe. show. Can we have a two night run at the fillmore next time?

Permalot Mon 10/2/2006 10:11AM
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Just saw how this thread started and I say to each their own. However, I must say that moe. is one of the most genuinely coherent and kick ass bands touring. It's been awhile since I've been to a show because I'm always trying to see something different every time I make a point to see a show. I think alot of people just don't get moe. because of the fact that they really put emphasis on "song" rather than "jam". Check their albums out and then go to a show. It might give a little perspective.

Lorene starstarstarstarstar Mon 10/2/2006 10:39AM
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Moe. makes me wanna move- and those endorphins make me happy. Great article, great show.

gz99 Mon 10/2/2006 10:59AM
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moe 1996 sounds just like moe 2006 - where is the musical growth ?

okalrightic starstarstarstarstar Mon 10/2/2006 11:52AM
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moe. 2006 actually sounds very different from moe. 1996...check out newer songs like she and wind it up...also the album wormwood (way different from old moe.) the musical growth is definitely there, you just have to pay attention.

GratefulHokie starstarstar Mon 10/2/2006 12:00PM
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Great article and I think the comment debates like this need to rage on. I've been listening to moe. now for quite a bit and have seem 'em live a handful of times, and I can say that they can't be matched musically. Very talented and at times go in a direction that never seemed possible...great to get your body moving to. But like gz99 below says, theres times where its just too much of the same thing and honestly that can be plain boring. A buddy of mine is a huge moe guy and while hes dancing hell scream out the length of the song, "THEYVE BEEN JAMMING FOR LIKE 18 MINUTES NOWW MAN!"...thats great and all...but when they don't switch it up, don't take you in a new sounds like 18 minutes of the same thing. Thats just me though :-)

gmoo starstarstarstar Mon 10/2/2006 12:03PM
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Wait who said The Racist Volta is better than Moe. How can you even compare these bands? The Racist Volta is a bunch of guys trying to be as loud as can there be any musically interplay? Yeah, give me a band that gives their fans the finger after they play. Come on now, The Racist Volta doesn't have anything on Moe. Give me At The Drive-In waaaaaaaaay before The Racist Fan-Hating Ethnocentric Volta. For me and the rest of the spun out cookies, we'll take Moe. thanks. And please never bring up Volta on a Moe. post ever again.

OysterDead starstarstarstar Mon 10/2/2006 12:38PM
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Well written..

Let's not forget they are leaders not followers...
anyone remember the first moe. cruise a few years before the jamcruise was ever invented?

See you at the RODEO!!

Matthew Jaworski starstarstarstar Mon 10/2/2006 01:51PM
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Matthew Jaworski

Has anyone else noticed that every comment thread eventually turns into a "I love/hate Mars Volta debate?" Very strange.

thanks, bdaughert. Good lookin' out.

ramsaaa starstarstar Mon 10/2/2006 04:20PM
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I wasn't at the Warfield this night, but if it wasn't a 30 hour drive, damn it I'd of been there! moe. is an incredibly talented band that has the ability to play fantastic shows that can lift the crowd to new heights and bring the house down with crowd volume. All bands have an off night, but moe. sure has a ton great ones... thanks for the article and hopefully I'll see you all at a future night of moe.

i13tony starstarstarstarstar Mon 10/2/2006 10:58PM
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Great piece! My wife and I traveled from Tampa to this show, and the previous night's show in Tahoe. I've been to moe.down , Atlanta, and Asheville to see moe. And I had the same feelings as the author after this show but just couldn't put my finger on it. The vibes at the east coast shows are definitely more intense. Go to the Asheville Halloween run or the next Atlanta shows at the Fox Theatre and you will definitely feel the difference. In their defense, moe. was in the midst of a 16 shows in 18 night run, so maybe their own energy was a little low, as well. The crowd was definitely more mellow at the Warfield. Is that how it always is at that venue? I still had a blast, though, and I love moe. But, there are plenty of other bands out there that are tearing it up just as hard as moe. does. Sorry guys!

ss32 star Tue 10/3/2006 12:58PM
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F moe.

a moe show is at best interesting for 25 minutes

it's music for people that can't dance

zabin29 star Tue 10/3/2006 01:16PM
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yeah, what a bunch of talentless hacks
chuck can't play guitar
al has no soul and
rob plays the same three notes over and over
really, they bring so little to the table compared to almost every other band that i like.

zabin29 star Tue 10/3/2006 01:16PM
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yeah, what a bunch of talentless hacks
chuck can't play guitar
al has no soul and
rob plays the same three notes over and over
really, they bring so little to the table compared to almost every other band that i like.

RedHeaven starstarstarstar Tue 10/3/2006 01:56PM
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Great article. I was at the Tahoe show the previous night. It was my 20th? moe show since 01, somethin like that, I would say it was nice and fun and good, but nothing HUGE....Ive seen moe. a few other times up in tahoe, its always a guarunteed treat, but this round was definitely not my favorite. I heard they really shredded Oregon, though. I wasnt dissapointed, but I feel like the wroter of this article explained to a TEE how I was feeling at moe. in Tahoe as well. Hey I'll be back for much much more whenever they come into town. Just watching Rob is worth it. haaaaa
I simply just always love to hear their songs and close my eyes and dig it.

caught starstarstarstar Tue 10/3/2006 08:32PM
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moe is phish therapy. i need lots

redredwine starstar Wed 10/4/2006 04:55AM
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chasetc20 starstarstarstar Wed 10/4/2006 07:28AM
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I Agree.
I recently saw moe live and it was awesome there the future of jamrock

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstar Wed 10/4/2006 10:36AM
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‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

zabin29. I agree with u I guess, but not so graphically negative as you. My point is, the guitar solos u get in say a 25 minute MOE song, have technical expertise, but no soul for me. I get no fuzzy feeling, or magical draw to the jams they play. I suppose if u are loaded on E then its giddy music for ur brain. but my feeling after listening to many a live show, and many a live JAMMED tune, that they lack the Magic I need to feel enlightened from their music. I have found that on this website there are fans of just about everything!!! People that LOVE the breakfast,family groove company, P groove, UMPH, and other stuff that I just cannot comprehend!!!! I suppose its a matter of taste exclusively.
MOE for all the jamming they do, cant even bring me to my feet, eahhhhh I just dont think these bands have the soul I need for personal enlightenment.. MOE will always be popular that much is gonna be true. I have a great list of favorite bands on my profile here, my thing with bands is, I need to like 90% of what they play, any less doesnt qualify as music that I find super important to me.. peace ya'll

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstar Wed 10/4/2006 10:41AM
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‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

hahaha.. if u love moe, then u are lucky to have one more thing to love than me,, and I can live with that.
Moe is Phish therapy?? hmmm I hear people say that about P groove too... people are crazy!!! peace ya'll....

origen Wed 10/4/2006 03:07PM
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If you understand and appreciate the electric guitar, you will love moe. If you like pop songs with a catchy chorus you will not like moe. moe is a jamband that is not afraid to just be a jamband. Thank God... I'm tired of jambands trying to redefine themselves by singing crappy lyrics. Guitar solos rule!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

matt87 starstar Wed 10/4/2006 04:35PM
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"Guitar solos rule!"

only when somebody with talent is playing the guitar

sideslide starstarstarstarstar Thu 10/5/2006 03:17PM
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great review! I too have felt that helpless feeling during a moe. show. Sometimes a little boring for my taste but always willing to take chances, and i like that. moe. rocks!

Positive1 starstarstarstarstar Thu 10/5/2006 11:49PM
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Positive1 the most intense mainstream live jam show going on right now, they were the best I've ever seen them @ moe.down and that light show was the best I've ever seen as well.Can't wait til' The Palace on the 14th,i'm fiending for another dose of those sweet riffs.I still can't believe they covered Radiohead.These guys are full of surprises.

Badphish419 starstarstarstarstar Fri 10/6/2006 10:31AM
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Mars Volta SUCKS!!!!

Hanover starstarstarstarstar Tue 10/10/2006 05:33PM
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moe. is revolutionary in the fact that they play to the bare bone. it is, i cant understand an aquired taste but man this is improv at its supreme.

QuantumTuba Thu 10/19/2006 06:31PM
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How did this become a battle between moe.rons and Mars Volta fans. Both are talented bands, they just have different styles. moe. is a rootsy jam band, Mars Volta is a heavy prog band. I prefer moe, but Mars Volta can play.

joselave starstarstar Tue 10/24/2006 10:24AM
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Moe in Sayreville October 21, 2006

Saturday night me and my buddy were in no shape to be driving after the moe. show in Sayreville. Thankfully someone else noticed this. Some guy made his friends follow us all the way from Sayreville to Holmdel while he drove my car. Besides getting himlost b/c I had no idea where we were going and my buddy passed out, we for some reason both threw up out the windows. It was my car but the guy that gave us a ride must of thought we were insane. Well he is half right I guess.

Needless to say I have no idea who this guy was and why he did but I would like to say thanks. There is no way I would of been able to make it back to holmdel that night. Hopefully he sees this and knows I appreciate it.

Oh and one more thing. Marty wants to know why his ass hurts, told him I don't remember b/c I was drunk maybe you could help us on that one.

tgh031 starstarstarstar Mon 2/4/2008 07:04PM
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The musical cohesiveness of moe. is their strongest point. They are polished and do what they do very well. The minimalism that some mistake as lack of creativity is what makes them the band that they are. One of the best touring bands making music right now, and full of focused energy. And yes, Mars Volta rocks....