moe. 6.13.14

Mishawaka Amphitheatre
Bellvue, CO

Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)
Audio By Corey Sandoval (Kind Recordings)

Mishawka has a long and storied history with Northern Colorado locals. Once in the hands of irresponsible management the venue had fallen into disrepair. Now under the curation of Dani Grant, each year the Mish gets closer to its former untarnished glory. This summer’s concert lineup features everyone from Joan Baez to the newly formed super group Hard Working Americans. However the most enticing announcement this year was the return of moe. after a full decade away. The last time moe. performed at The Mishawaka was ironically the same weekend as Phish’s Coventry. It seems odd to wait so long to return to a place so beautiful, but with their various summer endeavors it’s understandable. Beyond that this was also Friday the 13th with a full ‘Honey Moon,’ which hasn’t been seen here in almost 100 years. I arrived early and got a chance to chat with Al, Vinnie, and Jim (stay tuned for the video.) Al seemed to think that rather than spread craziness, these factors would calm the crowd and make for a very relaxed show. Time would tell.

Tickets for this show sold in in just a couple weeks, meaning many last minute would-be attendees were left out in the cold. Speaking of cold… due to the nearly 1,000 people that needed to ride the shuttle up and a lack of buses, we were told the day before the show that there would be a DJ to open up the night and that moe. would not be going on until 10:00 PM. This was disappointing news that was exacerbated by the sheer lack of talent from said DJ. DJ Barley… or something along those lines gave us a nearly two-hour performance that served as little more than background noise for the eager audience. He would alternate between mild dubstep and inoffensive techno. Occasionally he would produce an electric guitar, but I never really heard a solo.

Finally at 10:00 PM on the dot moe. appeared for the first of their two sets. They opened with a snappy “Downward Facing Dog.”

moe. Live at Mishawaka Amphitheatre on June 13, 2014.

Set One: Downward Facing Dog, Deep This Time, It, So Long> Yodelittle > The Bones of Lazarus> Yodelittle, Zed Naught Z

Set Two: Smoke> Moth, Opium, Darkness> Same Old Story, Runaway Overlude, She

Encore: Bear Song

moe. took all of those lucky enough to be inside on a musical journey that will not soon be forgotten. This band’s ability to play in synch and stretch out through improvisation is without comparison. While other bands squabbled and took extended hiatuses moe. continued down the path diligently and without incident. They are still just a rock band from New York, but man can they play. “Deep This Time” and “It” served as a little warm up for the guys before they went into the far side of the deep end. “So Long” was the diving board for an epic musical tirade that was my highlight of the entire show. “So Long” into “Yodelittle” into “Lazarus” into “Yodelittle” lasted just under 50 minutes. Few bands these days take on a fifteen-minute song let alone three in a row. “Yodelittle” became the crux while the dueling guitars of Chuck Garvey and Al Schnier entranced the crowd. They finished the first set with a mischievous “Zed Naught Z” which featured the excellent percussion skills of Mr. Jim Loughlin superbly.

All night fans had waited for the elusive Honey Moon to emerge from behind the ridge. Unfortunately the moon remained hidden and fans had to wait until they made it down the canyon to see it. The setbreak seemed to stretch on before moe. returned to the old wooden stage. They began with a sinister “Smoke” that segued beautifully into the crowd pleasing “Moth.” “Opium” was another highlight with a deep jam that built steadily until it reached a massive peak. “Darkness” continued the sinister sound that permeated the second set. “Same Old Story” was the first track off of moe.’s new album No Guts No Glory. This tune takes on a jazzy almost big band feel and it contains the titular lyric of the album. They ripped through a heavy “Runaway Overlude” before ending the set with a gigantic “She.” The once-retired “Bear Song” reared its handsome head for the encore.

This show was definitely one for the dedicated moe.rons. The jams were deep and dark with lots of songs not on their ‘Greatest Hits Album.’ That freed them up for a lot of improvisation and exploratory back and forth. They are playing like a band that has been touring continuously for twenty-five years. Tight, smart, interesting performances have just become expected and moe. delivers. I’m glad that after ten years moe. found their way back to the Mishwakwa, let’s not wait another ten.

Nick’s Photo Gallery


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