On the heels of their 25th Anniversary Fall tour, moe. is revved up and ready to rock the remaining year away. After thrilling the Catskill Chill Festival with their energetic performance of heavy hitters, the fellas made D.C. their home for three nights with an intimate benefit show at The Hamilton to support Teen Cancer Awareness and capped off the weekend with two nights at the famed 9:30 Club. One very neat feature of the fall tour is the chance for attendees to enter a contest to win VIP passes, sit in with the band as they make the setlist, and then announce the band on stage.
Friday night was considered to be a “You’ve got to buy this show” type of performance, consisting of a fancy non-stop segue 2nd set withholding a few rarities. Moe. started right off with a finger-blistering “Timmy Tucker” flowing into “It.” Next came the first cover of the evening with “Good Guys and Bad Guys” by Camper Van Beethoven which was last played a year and a day ago. With little break, the band pounded into a tasty “Cray Eyes > Funky Reuben > Crab Eyes” sandwich, which left the crowd hungry for more. Pausing for only a brief moment to recoup, the band finished off the first set strong with a melodic mix of “Tailspin > Hi and Lo > Moth.” Chuck and Al swapped licks and solos like champs during this monstrous set end-er.
The second set is where the fun really started. A very funky “Farmer Ben” that broke straight into “Tom Sawyer” by Rush, kept Jim on vocals for more than he’s used to. This bonus kept the energy of the evening at peak. The group graciously swept into “Skrunk” followed by a mesmerizing low that allowed Rob some twiddling around on the bass, only to bring the whole group into “Kyle’s Song.” This was somewhat expected since it was written about a fan that attended one of their shows at the 9:30 Club many years ago and got hit by an automobile not far from the venue. Similar to being performed on their album Wormwood, the band seamlessly segued into “Kids,” then switched things up with their politically charged “George.” Amid the mass shredding that Al brought to this tune, the group slowed it down a bit and closed the set with the remaining portion of “Kids.” As the riled up audience cheered uncontrollably, the guys pranced back on-stage and kicked off the encore with a hyped up “Spaz Medicine” and vigorously segued into “Akimbo” by the symbol-happy, noise maker, Vinnie.
Night two of the back-to-back shows were intensified by a larger crowd, ready to get their groove on. Moe. embraced the stage yet again with gratuity and tuned up for moment before bursting into “Threw It All Away.” A quick mandolin switch for Al brought a surprise, as Rob started singing “Cathedral.” Passing along the vocal “torch” to Chuck, brought a rippin’ “Annihilation Blues” which unfortunately left Jim misplacing the Gong sound at the end, triggering some fun banter after-wards. What started out as a rocky beginning of “House of the Rising Sun,” rapidly turned into a luscious cover for the first half. As Vinnie conducted a stick-count, the band erupted into a memorably extended “Bring You Down.” To bring the mood down a touch, Chuck slid his way in and out of a pleasant “Opium.” Before the fellas broke for intermission, Al topped off the first set with a stimulating “Mexico.”
Upon returning to the stage, moe. rocketed into “Plane Crash” without turbulence. Then came the popular “Silver Sun” from their latest release No Guts, No Glory. Without huddle, the band rocked out a stellar “Runaway Overlude” proceeded by “Gone.” Then came the only segue of the night with a pulsating “The Pit,” in which Jim led the gloomy improvisational jam with a tasty vibraphone solo. As the song simmered, Rob induced some heavy bass licks for a few minutes to introduce the next song. With much anticipation that the bass-master was procuring, came the last song of the set, “Meat.” These “Ragers of Improvisational Rock” know how to lay it on thick when it comes to topping off a weekend. As expected, the audience was enduring some comical Al.nouncements but there was one in particular that held some meaning. Vinnie made a special birthday wish to his wife Debbie from afar, with the help from the fans. The packed 9:30 club was awaiting the encore with patience and was thrown in a tizzy with “That Country Tune,” which hasn’t been played since their Jamaican Throe.down earlier this year. Last but not least, Chuck pulled out a magnificent “Time” by Pink Floyd to pay homage to the popular venue in which they have played at least once each year that moe. has been a band. Simply a great way to end their run in D.C.
Be sure to pick up their recordings from the weekend at a discount if you buy all three and be sure to grab your tickets to any of their next dates this fall, which include a planned Star Wars Themed Halloween show in Philly at the brand new Fillmore Theater.