It had been well over a year since moe. graced the Town Ballroom stage, when they arrived in Buffalo this past weekend. With their annual 2-night stay, fans were happy to have the band “home” again and this time with a last minute opening act Floodwood, featuring Vinnie Amico, Tony Markellis, Jason Barady, Nick Piccininni, and Chris Eves. Floodwood picked, kicked, and hollered with delight to a sold out anxious crowd, which included an original debut by Eves, titled “Green and Blue” featuring some warm vocals and smooth fiddle. This top-notch group flooded the room with enough hip-swinging rhythms to warm up any venue in western New York.
Night one started off rocking with “Rainshine,” a straight-forward rock song, not played enough in rotation. Without “huddle,” Rob led the group into “Jazz Wank,” segueing into a more than an hour long “Buster” sandwich including a seamlessly paired “Lazarus > George” and Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.” Garvey captivated listeners with his silver-tongued vocals as Schnier lead out the solo with lust and emotion. Since their late-night tribute set at The Peach Fest, the guys have been working more Floyd tunes into their sets for the Fall tour.
Second set sluggishly took off with “Lost Along the Way,” picking up momentum during the instrumental section. The crowded Town Ballroom was then treated to a thick tasty “MEAT” sandwich, doubling up for the evening. The peak of the evening was surely this mamma-jamma, stuffed with tight-fitted solos from each member during “Akimbo” and “Silver Sun.” Topping off the night, Loughlin delivered radiant vocals on Frank Zappa’s “Cosmik Debris,” a tune first debuted at last years Halloween show in Philly.
Sparing little time and energy on Saturday, moe. returned to the stage of the Ballroom and hit-the-deck running with “Blue Jeans Pizza.” Chuck took it upon himself to set fire during the jam, enough to slap a consistent smile on Rob’s face for the duration. Al’s fun piano chops held together an interesting yet playful segue jam before switching to guitar for “Mexico,” which led into Merle Haggard‘s “Mama Tried.” Having only played that twice as a band (Once in 1997 and again last April), the majority of the audience sang along and danced their cares away. Acknowledging the culminating energy, Garvey simply stated “Round 2.”
Next, came a massive “Opium” containing plenty of sustained twang-ish slide guitar work, carried over by Chuck from the previous tune. A lengthy version allowed Vinnie to change up drumming styles, easing his way into “Understand.” Garvey took to the voice box for an honorable rendition of David Bowie’s “Fame” followed by “Same Old Story” to round off the first set.
Commencing the second set with “In the Flesh,” moe. proved how much they’re enjoying playing Pink Floyd as well as utilizing Jim’s voice. Given the opportunity, the ensemble intensely kicked up the energy with “Spaz Medicine.” Next came the last “sandwich” of the weekend with “Yodelittle > Down Boy > Yodelittle” featuring some notable lighting work by Pulse Lighting‘s own Justin Casey, who’s been having too much fun with the Clay Paky B-Eyes and Chauvet Rogue R1 FX-B series lights. After a brief pause, Garvey worked up some slide guitar again for “Shoot First” before segueing into an impressive “Billy Goat > Kids.”
Just before moe. took to the stage one last time, Schnier proceeded with the nightly “Al.nouncements” tradition. Unable to resist, he riled up the Buffalo crowd asking “So, here’s the question, are we gonna win tomorrow?” referring to the Bills vs. New England Patriots game on Sunday. With some New England fans scattered throughout the audience and on stage as well, the response was a little heated tho undeniably entertaining as Al had to explain that Bills Nation lasts year-long. moe. finished up their two-night “hometown” run with “Not Coming Down” and “Spine of a Dog,” giving Buffalo another win of the weekend.
Friday Night Photos by Tim Merrill
Saturday Night Photos by Jim Houle