Reviews

moe.

Greg M. Schwartz

The Fillmore is one of the best places in the world to see a band like moe., who represent a welcome return to the classic psych style first pioneered at the venue some 40 years ago.

moe.

moe.

City: San Francisco, CA
Venue: The Fillmore
Date: 2008-01-17

Hot on the heels of their New Year’s Eve blow-out at Radio City Music Hall, moe. journeyed westward to another of the nation’s most prestigious venues, San Francisco’s legendary Fillmore Auditorium. The jam-rock stalwarts, who hail from upstate New York, have been a Fillmore favorite since their first appearance at the venue back in 1997, and their semi-regular visits have become a perennial highlight of the Bay Area concert calendar. With its velvet drapes, glowing chandeliers, and long, storied history, the Fillmore is without doubt one of the best places in the world to see a band like moe. Combining catchy tunes, melodic guitar-driven jams, and a mesmerizing light show, the group represents a welcome return to the classic psych style first pioneered at the venue some 40 years ago. Standing confidently before the Fillmore crowd, moe. hits the ground running with a three-song segue of “Not Coming Down>Wormwood>Akimbo”, establishing a groovy, high-energy mood from the start. Bassist Rob Derhak is particularly sharp, delivering some funky string slapping on “Not Coming Down”. Derhak looks like he just rolled out of bed, but, then, that’s part of moe.’s down-to-earth charm -- they may have rock-god chops, but the band members look like your everyday dudes at a keg party. And in the end, their choice to take the stage in jeans, t-shirts, and no pretensions is part of what makes them so accessible. The band has just taken nearly three weeks off, but you can hardly tell. “Wormwood” brings the tempo down a notch, while keeping the crowd moving with its slinky groove, slippery slide guitar, and spacey sound effects. “Akimbo” then launches the show into blastoff, with the band jamming out as if deep in the second set. moe. then dips into their new album, Sticks & Stones, for the title track; its classic-rock sound is well-received. Perennial favorite “Captain America” follows, turning the Fillmore into a raging dance party. Guitarists Al Schnier and Chuck Garvey are on top of their game, while Derhak, drummer Vinnie Amico, and percussionist Jim Loughlin lay down a rock-solid foundation that pushes the envelope of the groove. Observing a long-held San Francisco tradition, “Waiting for the Punchline” closes the first set with a guest appearance by a local musician -- in this case, Hot Buttered Rum’s Aaron Redner on fiddle. The explosive jam is reminiscent of “I Know You Rider” jams from the Grateful Dead, as Schnier, Garvey, and Redner trade licks and bring the crowd to the peak of the mountaintop several times. The second set kicks off with the new “Darkness”, which seems to comment on the dire socio-political state of the planet. The song appears to tie in with the stage’s backdrop, a tree with a bar code in its roots -- an apparent commentary on the commoditization of the environment. “Shoot First” changes the sonic vibe as Derhak switches to upright bass and Schnier takes up an acoustic guitar. It’s a lengthy second set, and the packed dance floor eventually begins to thin out, giving the die-hards a little more elbow room. The set peaks out with the monster concluding trio of “Lazerus>Yodelittle>Plane Crash”, each song bringing soaring jams and ultra-psychedelic lighting with it. It’s a new year, but moe.’s tried-and-true formula never seems to get old. Hot Buttered Rum’s Erik Yates joins the band on flute for “Plane Crash”, amusingly recalling Ron Burgundy’s stupendous flute solo from Anchorman while also helping to take the classic jam in a new, jazzier direction. The results make for a unique rendition of the old fan favorite. The encore kicks off another new experiment, with moe. inviting fans who have pre-ordered the new album to join them onstage, ostensibly to help sing the album track “Raise a Glass”, a tune arranged like an old Irish folk song and featuring Schnier on mandolin, with Redner and Yates back on fiddle and flute. While a nice idea in theory, the execution is somewhat lacking (not everyone knows the words). Derhak acknowledges as much afterward, and Schnier jokes that the song may have peaked in the studio. But trust moe. not to end a show with an anti-climactic moment. The guests depart the stage and leave the five remaining men to rock out on “The Road”, re-summoning the evening’s musical magic in all its extended glory.

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less
9
TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Here comes another Kompakt Pop Ambient collection to make life just a little more bearable.

Another (extremely rough) year has come and gone, which means that the German electronic music label Kompakt gets to roll out their annual Total and Pop Ambient compilations for us all.

Keep reading... Show less
8

Winner of the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Rockabilly Female stakes her claim with her band on accomplished new set.

Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones

Love You To Life

Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2017-08-11
Amazon
iTunes

Lara Hope and her band of roots rockin' country and rockabilly rabble rousers in the Ark-Tones have been the not so best kept secret of the Hudson Valley, New York music scene for awhile now.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image