moe. :: 06.15.08 :: Governor’s Island :: New York, NY
As the NYC summer concert season begins to roll with big time artists taking to open air spaces amongst the steel and concrete skylines, moe. stood poised and ready to christen a new outdoor venue and summer concert series. This evening’s show represented the first-ever large-scale performance on Governors Island. Over two consecutive days, moe. packed in tons of music for NYC, adding a visit to the Sirius Satellite Radio studios and a Headcount benefit acoustic performance followed by a full show at the Highline Ballroom (see below for Highline coverage).
This was my maiden voyage to Governor’s Island and my first impression was a good one. The ferry ride was quick and painless, offering stunning views of the skyline, harbor and the Statue of Liberty. A short walk past a cool looking circular fort (Castle Williams) sits the concert field. The medium sized, V-shaped open space had trees and Victorian period brick row houses lining either side, providing the feel of being in the middle of Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The stage was set at the far apex of the field. Magic Hat beer, food, concert shwag and non-profit tables were conveniently located off to the side in full view of the stage. The Highline Ballroom promotes this concert series and they know how to host a live music event. Stage right, a DJ spun for our pre-show and setbreak listening pleasure, and the Highline waitresses and bartenders also made the trip to provide bar service throughout. The ferry schedule was one area for future improvement. There is only one boat and it makes only a handful of scheduled runs. Since it’s the only way to and from the island, one must plan accordingly. However, the weather couldn’t have been more perfect for an outdoor concert and the excitement was palpable as moe. took to the stage just after 7 p.m.
“Thanks for making your way to Governor’s Island! We know it’s not an easy place to get to. Thanks for comin’ out on a Sunday night in the summer at a place where you have to take a ferry to get here and on Fathers Day. Happy Fathers Day!” offered the band.
The guitars of Al Schnier and Chuck Garvey dueled beautifully during “Rise,” weaving in and out of each other’s lines with precision. RatDog saxophonist Kenny Brooks was announced to the stage, lending his horn to an extended Grateful Dead inspired jam that gradually and seamlessly segued into “Happy Hour Hero” to the crowd’s delight. The faithful joined Rob Derhak for “one more bottle,” as they sang in lockstep. Brooks’ sax was a wonderful addition to the tasty mix that made up a strong first set.
The band picked right up where they left off with a rollicking “Head” to begin part two of the program. The spacey interlude provided a runway to take off as the sun dropped below the trees. Garvey’s fiery guitar work would make Carlos Santana proud as the boys slipped into “Time Ed” and circled back to the climax of “Head.” With a great setlist, moe. delivered a gem, and a tasty “Brent Black” > “She” > “Brent Black” sandwich closed the second set.
With a tip of the hat to NYC’s own Ramones, the band launched into old punk favorite “I Wanna Be Sedated” for the encore. With twenty-twenty-twenty-four hours still to go here in NYC moe. did it up right as they christened a great new venue.
It’s worth noting that the promoters for this concert series took numerous steps to help reduce the impact on the national park’s environment: Beer was served in biodegradable cups, everything that could be recycled was, a water bottle exchange allowed people to redeem empties for full ones and the concert is accessible (both to the public and crew) only by public transit.
Ready to trade in the ferry for a subway ride, it was onto The Highline Ballroom.
moe. :: 06.15.08 :: Governors Island, New York
Set I: Tailspin, Darkness, Bring You Down, Tambourine, Rise1, Happy Hour Hero1
Set II: Head > Time Ed > Head, Four, Spaz Medicine, Brent Black > She > Brent Black
Encore: I Wanna Be Sedated
1 with Kenny Brooks on sax(RatDog)
Continue reading for coverage from 06.16 at the Highline Ballroom…
moe. :: 6.16.08 :: Highline Ballroom :: New York, NY
After a rather lengthy break, allowing the rest of the rain-soaked masses to enter the building, moe. returned for the first of two proper electric sets. Opening with one of the best renditions of “Water” I’ve ever heard, guitarist and HeadCount board member Al Schnier absolutely tore through this number, which also featured the band’s patented “we can jam harder than you” philosophy. With some newer material mixed in, the first set seemed to be all about Schnier. On the old school “Jazz Wank” and most prominently on the fan favorite, set-closing “Mexico,” I was reminded of just how talented this band – especially Schnier – is.
After the setbreak, the band returned with a bag of cookies and two, full-size cakes that Derhak explained were made for the band by nearby Ruthy’s Bakery. They then proceeded to hand out the cookies, while the cake was cut up and distributed to all in attendance. The second helping of music started off with another older tune, “Nebraska” off of 1998’s Tin Cans and Cars Tires, and featured Frampton-esque mouth flugel effects from guitarist Chuck Garvey, while the band seemed to stretch the tune well past its normal length. It was so big that it enveloped the often played “Blue Jeans Pizza” in the middle and seemed to go on forever – much like the roads in Nebraska.
More comic relief filled the start of the encore when Schnier read some stage announcements written by fans, including a happy birthday wish to “creepy, douchebag Mike.” A reading of “Threw it All Away” capped off six, consecutive nights of moe. on the road, and a one-two punch in the NYC area, which featured some highs, some lows and some mediocre jams. However, kudos to the band for supporting HeadCount and continuing to chug along as one of the scene’s biggest jam outfits before a much-needed tour break after this upcoming moe.down, their annual festival held over Labor Day weekend.
moe. :: 06.16.08 Highline Ballroom :: New York, NY
Set I: Shoot First1, New York City1, Can’t Seem To Find1, Okayalright1 > Time Again1
Set II: Water > Bearsong, Queen of Everything, Jazz Wank > Runaway Overlude > Mexico
Set III: Nebraska > Blue Jeans Pizza > Nebraska, Crab Eyes, The Pit > Big World > Moth
Encore: Threw It All Away
1 entire first set was an acoustic set benefiting HeadCount
JamBase | Heart of the City
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