Some families, if they’re lucky, have reunions every year or so. If you’re a moe.ron, its whenever moe. the band is able to park it and throw down for a couple of days. Last weekend, the boys dropped into their old stomping grounds of Utica for two nights of their annual stint at the Saranac Brewery; bringing a wave of openers and late night shows, along with their own bust-outs and full throttle psychedelic rock to 830 Varick St.
With Ryan Montbleau opening the first night, fans were treated to a full band which, in typical Montbleau fashion, kicked off the weekend with sulky vibes mixed with high intensity big band sounds encapsulated within a small ensemble.
People who know what a Montbleau Band show is capable of were buzzing over his electricity and for those who only thought they knew, were served a healthy dose of wild female vocals, buttery trombone, crazy fingered keys, and the smooth charm of the talented singer-songwriter.
With gray skies, high heat and humidity hovering, a crowd with a propensity for partying gave moe. full-bellied cheers as the first set began with the classic ,”Timmy Tucker,” a sign that things were off to a great start. “Timmy” sneakily segued into the bouncy “Threw It All Away” followed by another segue back into “Timmy.”
A quick hello and welcome to Utica from bassist Rob Derhak led into the cautionary, in-your-face monster, “Don’t Fuck With Flo” followed by “CIA.” Fans were then treated to two covers, “Fame” by the late David Bowie, and Steely Dan’s “Bodhisattava,” with Ryan Montbleau, accompanied by his female vocalists, sitting in on the performance. The two covers showcased guitarist Chuck Garvey’s vocal abilities and classic rock chops to help close out a stellar first set.
The second set began with a bang, as drummer Vinnie Amico rolled off the opening beats to “Water,” followed by the instrumental ditty “Hector’s Pillow;” the first two songs of a six-song segue. The beloved “Bring You Down” began patiently, but the jam soon grew to heights the song is known to reach. Yet each time the beauty of it is expanded upon as guitarist Al Schnier soloed his way into the songs closing lines, “be with me, be with me,” all while checking off stats as the first time played in the city as well as at the brewery.
The last half of the segues included the epic “Silver Sun”. The Pink Floyd inspired tune quickly turned into a beast as it transitioned into the Grateful Dead’s “The Other One,” using the same quadraphonic sound implemented earlier in the summer by the bands front-of-house engineer, Steve Young. Heads were spinning as sound echoed from the towering brewery back onto the fully loaded crowd and segued back into “Silver Sun.”
The night was completed with “Mar De Ma,” an Amico-penned instrumental honoring his wife and daughters, “Y.O.Y,”, and “Plane Crash.”
Much to many fan’s pleasure, the band strayed from the setlist and chose “Sensory Deprivation Bank” for the encore. Attendees were then unleashed into the streets to take part in the late night acts offered throughout Varick Street.
Set I: Timmy Tucker > Threw It All Away > Timmy Tucker, Don’t Fuck With Flo > CalifornIA > (n.h.) Fame, Bodhisattava
Set II: Water > Hector’s Pillow > Bring You Down, Silver Sun > The Other One > Silver Sun, Mar-DeMa (n.h.) Y.O.Y., Plane Crash
Enc: Sensory Deprivation Bank