moe. Relentlessly Rocks Binghamton

moe. jumped into their set and did not yield on the throttle the rest of the night at Binghamton’s Forum Performing Arts Theatre on Wednesday, March 11. The midweek throw-down featured two sets of neatly flowing rock produced by masters of the art that left the crowd craving more.

Jim Houle - moe. -45

After an opening set by Cabinet, moe. came out to raucous applause from the Binghamton constituency. While the Buffalo-born-band only has one more scheduled Upstate date, it was hinted that another show is in the works. Regardless, they threw the kitchen sink at The Forum, seldom taking a break between mammoth jams. With Guitarist Chuck Garvey, drummer Vinny Amico and bassist Rob Derhak all adorned in silver-sequined jackets to celebrate the band’s 25th anniversary, they kicked the first set off with “Kids.” As band members got their feet underneath them and settled in, the tune picked up momentum and, at some point, unnoticeably transitioned into “Skrunk.”

“Skrunk” became “ZOZ” from 2008’s album Sticks and Stones which morphed back into “Kids.” Somehow, an hour was gone and having played only four seamlessly segued songs, moe. demonstrated why it has been on top of the jam scene long enough to celebrate a silver anniversary. Time signatures ebbed and flowed and, while the tone stayed mostly bright, there were periods of weirdness dispersed throughout the huge block of music. Percussionist Jim Loughlin captivated the crowd with his dexterity on the xylophones; harmonizing the percussion with Garvey on guitar and Al Schnier on the guitar and/or keys adds an extra layer of richly toned texture unique to moe.  The three got into a deep groove when they returned to “Kids.” After a long ovation, moe. concluded the first set with a cover of “Godzilla” that helped gently return onlookers from the wild musical ride moe. just created.

Like the first set, the second was a fluid jam that lasted over an hour without ceasing. “The Pit” acted as bookends with an emphatic version of “Four” and energetic rendition of “Happy Hour Hero” as highlights in the middle. Throw in “Seat Of My Pants,” “Tubing the River Styx,” and a couple other tunes, and a 75 minute set was over without a single break to catch one’s breath. Again, seemingly in the blink of an eye, fans cheered boisterously as a tightly packed set flew by.

Jim Houle - moe.-2

An encore consisting of moe. original “It” and a cover of “The Weight” featuring members of Cabinet was the finishing touch of a nonstop night of jamming. Between the dual-shredding abilities of Garvey and Schnier, the in-your-face bass proffered by Derhak and the one-two punch on percussion with Amico and Loughlin, moe. torched the Forum Theatre in many ways. The band’s creativity and talent created an incredible evening of rock in Binghamton that won’t soon be forgotten.

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