moe. is what a rock band should be in the 21st Century—dueling guitar shredfests with a rich thick belly of bass and driving, powerful percussion.
With it being Carnival season in New Orleans, there was a festive energy in the air and it was nice to see the band pick up on that in both their setlist construction and playing. Beads were everywhere—piled on the necks’ of patrons, around Fess’ head, on Rob Derhak’s bass... These beads glimmered in the bright, multi-colored light show assault orchestrated by Chris Ragan. This atmosphere of merriment was the perfect environment for moe. to do their thing, which is basically balls-to-the-wall rock n’ roll jamming. During those few minutes when moe. wasn’t emanating music, the scene at Tipitina's gave them ample ammunition for their distinctive brand of silly, sarcastic, and generally amusing banter.
During the first set, the band was an upbeat roller coaster, turning corners on a dime and executing flawless segues. Although Seat of My Pants > Sensory Deprivation Bank is a common moe. segue, it still deserves props for its killer execution on Saturday night. After the segue occurred, I turned to look at my friend who had never heard moe. before. What I saw was a man smiling, nodding his head, and muttering over and over again, “That was clever. That was clever...”
The second set was musically noteworthy for an extended jam in the middle of Stranger Than Fiction and their cover of J.J. Cale’s Cajun Moon. It was visually noteworthy when two-thirds of the way through Bring It Back Home a cute young lady appeared on the stage, casually shaking her thing and rubbing her body up against Al’s back. This was very, very amusing. She then planted a fat kiss on Al’s cheek and walked over to Rob, who received the same treatment. Ditto for Chuck. Kisses all around, guys, you gave us a good show!
moe. opened the encore with Cissy Strut, a song that has now been played 234,701 times in New Orleans by 1,255 bands. However, for you amateur music historians sitting at home, this was probably the first time Cissy Strut was followed by Godzilla.
To like moe. is to embrace musical schizophrenia. During this show, they incorporated ska, punk, funk, blues, thrash, and straight ahead rock n roll with occasional detours into “out there” jamming. Because the moe. sound draws from many backgrounds and because the band has a sense of humor, many people hear “teases” at shows. Some are intentionally done, some are just your mind playing tricks on you. For instance, there was a blatant Jessica tease during Bring It Back Home. Day Tripper was riffed before Captain America. Both of these “tease” citations would not be argued by anyone in attendance. However, during a jam at some indeterminate point in the evening, I could have sworn I heard the J.Geils riff Centerfold. Other people I spoke with thought they heard teases ranging from Tom Petty to Frank Zappa. Did all of these “teases” happen? If they did, were they intentional? This is probably one of the deep, dark moe. secrets that will never be solved.
moe. is hot this tour—they sound great, are playing with purpose, and the new songs are catchy. Get out and support them!
JamBase New Orleans Correspondent
Go See Live Music!
February 17, 2001
Tipitina's | New Orleans, LA
Set I: Jazz Wank* > Spaz Medicine > Buster**, Seat Of My Pants > Sensory Deprivation Bank, Kids#
Set II: Moth > Lazarus, Stranger Than Fiction, Rise, Cajun Moon, Captain America > Bring It Back Home##
E: Cissy Strut^, Godzilla
* With "Recreational Chemistry" tease. ** With "Dixie" (traditional) tease. # With "Fire On The Mountain" (Grateful Dead) tease. ## With "Jessica" (Allman Brothers Band) tease. ^ First time played.