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Unkl Russ's Journal

moe. w/Cornmeal – January 26, 2008 – The Rave, Milwaukee, WI
I spent much of Saturday recovering from my fantastic Friday night. Around 6:15, Jana, Mike & I climbed into my Blazer for the ride North to the Rave. I had 2 tix & Jana got some 'free ticket with 2 drinks' coupons, so we were set! We arrived about 10 minutes before Cornmeal began, & the place was packed. I mean really packed: shoulder-to-shoulder, belly-to-back packed! Cornmeal put on a great show. Allie is just amazing on that fiddle of hers! The lineup was Chris Gangi, Allie Kral, Kris Nowak, J.P. Nowak &  Wavy Dave Burlingame. Interestingly, Kris, J.P. & Wavy Dave all play with Terrapin Flyer, too.

Cornmeal Setlist:
Hasten Jason
River Gap
Rain Your Light
Hillbilly Ride

Then of course there was the band change. I walked around talking with people & having a couple more cold ones before finding a Chuck-side spot for moe. It was even more packed and the energy level was super high!

Set I:
Captain America >
Sticks and Stones >
Waiting for the Punchline*
McBain >

* w/ Allie Kral on fiddle
1st time played

An energetic Captain America started their set off with a bang, then segued into a nice Sticks & Stones. Allie came on stage for a rousing WFTP followed by the live debut of September. The song was OK, but was a bit of a downer and kind of disrupted the flow a bit. Then Allie left & the guys played a nice McBain>Lazarus for a nice finish to a tasty first set. I wandered a bit at setbreak, then came back, this time Al-side, for the second set.

Set II:
Bearsong >
Runaway Overlude >
Zed Naught Z (ZOZ)
Brent Black^ >
Drums >
The Road >
Brent Black

^ w/ "Runnin' with the Devil" (Van Halen) tease by Chuck

Rob cranked out a thundering Bearsong, then into a nice Runaway Overlude before moving into Zed Naught Z. ZOZ is a great instrumental piece with a strong Zappa feeling. Great song that I think will take a prominent position in future shows. Brent Black moved into a sweet Drum segment before erupting into a rousing Kids. The band stopped for a moment before playing The Road, then a sick Brent Black finish to end the set. Very nice!

Raise A Glass*
Plane Crash

* w/ Allie Kral on fiddle

Once again it was nice to have Allie out there for Raise A Glass. I love Plane Crash, and moe. played it hard & well. I left the show feeling very satisfied, although also very tired. It was a great 3 show 'mini-tour' – I think I got my moe.fix for a bit. Can't wait till SummerCamp!!!

0 Comments :: Permalink :: Mon 2/18/2008 7:05 AM
moe. – January 24, 2008 – The Pageant, St. Louis, MO
I decided to do a little moe. Midwest Mini-Tour, so I took off work on 1/24/08 & 1/25/08 for a nice 4 day weekend. Getting up early on Thursday, I had Kaylee drive me to the Metra train station for the ride into Chicago. I was waiting in the station when I heard the news that the train was delayed due to a freight train derailment in the Antioch yard. OH no – would I get downtown in time?? Fortunately, the train was only about 20 minutes late and I arrived at Union Station with 15 minutes to spare. I was able to board the Amtrak train bound for St. Louis!

Just a bit out of Chicago>, the train came to a complete stop. It seems that a switch was frozen and had to be thawed & thrown manually. This gave us about a 20 minute delay. After riding for an hour or so, we again came upon a frozen switch and another delay. Argh! Aside from these delays, the Amtrak ride was uneventful, although I must say that the train made for a comfortable trip. We arrived at the St. Louis Amtrak station around 4:30 in the afternoon.

The St.Louis Station was quite small and rather isolated. There were no taxi's at all! I had to walk about ½ mile to the Hyatt in order to catch a cab. I finally arrived at the Cheshire Inn, a pretty interesting hotel. It has an Olde English theme, with dark wood trim, heavy furniture, wood burning fireplaces, old paintings on the walls, and an overall old-world ambiance. I made my way to my room, where I changed & relaxed for awhile.

Finally it was time. I checked my supplies, donned my coat, hat & gloves, and headed out. It was quite cold as I walked over to the Pagaent, about 1.7 miles from the hotel. It was actually a nice walk, but I was ready to get into a warmer environment and have a nice cold beer. I entered the venue and commenced to grab a Fat Tire. I wandered around for a while, checking out the place & talking to people. I finally moved down to the floor, Chuck-side, to stake out a spot for the fun.

moe. took the stage around 8:30 to the resounding strains of Also Sprach Zarathustra.

Set 1:
Deep This Time,
Recreational Chemistry >
Bring It Back Home,
Spine of a Dog >
Buster >
Wind It Up

Deep This Time made for a good opener – the lines 'looking at 40, acting like a child' resonated with me, although I mentally modified the lyric to 'moving through 40'. <G> There were some great jams & segues. Overall, a nice solid first set. There was about a half hour setbreak (more Fat Tires & a pee break).

Set 2:
Down Boy >
George >
Lost Along the Way,
Mexico >
Recreational Chemistry

OK, now this second set really kicked ass. Down Boy came on strong and moved into a fantastic George. Darkness was pretty good live – better than I expected, although I don't care too much for the 'laa la la la' parts. Mexico is one of my favs and I wasn't disapointed. There was this odd moment when Chuck messed up something with his gear. Al commented 'Chuckie fucked up' and the music shifted a bit. Then Al gave an explanation of the Mexico lyrics, then they finished the song. After a bit, Rob started this weird chant thing, which Chuck picked up. Sick shit! Chuck became Rockstar Chuckie, standing on his monitors and walking into the wing, jamming hard all the way. Al took the cue & made similar moves on his side. Raging guitars – wow! They blazed the ending of Rec Chem to finish the set. Nice! I can't wait to re-hear this show.

Raise a Glass,

This was my first chance to see the RAG encore with all the moe.rons on stage, and it was pretty cool. Then moe. cranked out a short but sweet Buster, and the evening ended.

I walked back to the hotel and fell into a deep, well deserved sleep. What a day!!

(originally posted in my MySpace blog. You can see more at myspace.com/unkl_russ

0 Comments :: Permalink :: Mon 2/18/2008 6:41 AM
moe. – January 25, 2008 – Riviera Theatre, Chicago, IL

moe. – January 25, 2008 – Riviera Theatre, Chicago, IL

I woke up early in my St. Louis hotel room, showered, dressed and packed, and went down to catch the shuttle to the Amtrak station. I arrived there about 20 minutes before the train was scheduled to depart, only to find that it was delayed about 1 ½ hours. Argh! But it did arrive at last and I boarded without incident. The ride was fine but we had several delays on the way. I had planned on arriving in Chicago in time to catch a Metra train out to my brother Doug's place in Cary. We were then going to drive back to Chicago together.

Alas, such plans fell through when the Amtrak arrived 2 ½ hours late. I ended up taking the 'L' Red Line to the Lawrence Station, right next door to the Kinetic Playground. I hung out in a bar for a while until Doug & Ron arrived, then I stowed my suitcase in his trunk. It was starting to snow pretty good, so we went & grabbed a quick bite then went to the Riv. 

This is where things started to get really good. I was on moe.'s guest list so I was able to just walk in – very nice start to the show! I had also bought 2 pre-sale tix, so I gave them to Doug & Ron. In turn, they supplied me with beer all night long. What a deal - my own personal beer grabbers.

Shortly after entering and having a beer, I went to the merch booth to sign up to get on stage with the boys for the Raise a Glass promo. I was 14 out of 20! I made it!

  The preshow music was Richard Strauss "Also Sprach Zarathustra"
First set:
The Ghost of Ralph's Mom >
Spaz Medicine >
Conviction Song*,
Cathedral* >
St. Augustine* >
Salt Creek* >
St. Augustine*

* w/ Allie Kral on fiddle

Allie's fiddle made a great addition on several songs. She really jams. I managed to see Cornmeal last month and they kicked ass! I like Conviction Song and Cathedral was good, too. Overall a very decent, but not particularly exciting first set. During the set break I went back to the merch booth to get some instructions from a crew member and a special wrist band. I met a few of my fellow moe.rons who were going on stage, too.

Second Set:
Timmy Tucker >
Bullet^ >
32 Things^
Queen of Everything *>
Water >
Timmy Tucker >

^ w/ Brendan Bayliss on guitar
*1st time played

OK, now things were cooking! The second set came on strong with high energy. Brendan from Umphrey's came out to play on Bullet & 32 Things. I'm not a big Umphrey's fan, but I really enjoyed those songs. We were treated to the live debut of Queen of Everything. I think QOE has great potential, but needs a little work yet. The Timmy Tucker> Water was inspired!

So now the second set was over, so I made my way to stage right to line up with the 19 other people. We were ushered backstage where we stood for a brief moment, then we were led onstage! It was very exciting, but I was also very nervous. I didn't realize that there was such a narrow space between the performers and the front of the stage. Man those lights are bright! I ended up basically in front of Al, who was hooking up his mandolin. He has quite an assortment of effect boxes and I was afraid that I may step on something & break it. Anyways, after a bit they start playing Raise A Glass & we all join in on the chorus. Afterwards we're quickly led off as moe. breaks into Bring You Down. What an experience!!

Raise A Glass*
Bring You Down

* w/ Allie Kral on fiddle
postshow music was Jimi Hendrix "Axis: Bold As Love"

After the show, we all go over to the Kinetic Playground to see Jack Straw. They played a few good songs. I'm wondering around, talking to a few people, when who do I see but Kyle from John Street Graphics, whom I had met at moe.down back in September! Great guy, and the subject of Kyle's Song. He tells me that Rob was there, so I started to get a funny feeling… sure enough, pretty soon Rob, Al, Chuck & Vinnie are on the stage, along with Brendan! Yeah!!

They played:
Lively up Yourself
In the Street

Then Al sat in with Jack Straw on:
Big Boss Man
China Cat Sunflower>
I Know you Rider

Later, I met Al in the hallway by the bathroom. I know I spoke to him, but for the life of me I can't remember what I said. Hey, I'd been drinking for 9 hours by then. Wow, what a night! We finally left around 3:30 am. We were close to Barrington to drop off Ron when we heard a funny sound. Doug's Lexus had a flat. We got out in the cold & changed the tire. We then dropped off Ron, and Doug & I went to his place, where I crashed on a futon in his sunroom. I was asleep in seconds. What an excellent day!!!!!

3 Comments :: Permalink :: Fri 2/15/2008 1:13 PM