On a warm and sunny Saturday, moe.rons from all across New England gathered in Northampton, MA for moe.’s spring tour closer at the Calvin Theatre. Many .rons traveled down from Burlington, VT, fresh off an impressive 2-night run at Higher Ground from the recently rejuvenated band. If fans were to expect anything after last year’s fiery winter tour closer at the Calvin, they were in for a good time.
The first set took off quickly as Rob Derhak broke into the first words of fan favorite “Captain America,” which was met with a huge cheer from the crowd. The song set a very upbeat mood for the beginning of first set, and was a strong song to open with in the band’s return to the Calvin. The band got to jamming swiftly, seemingly very well practiced from the previous 2 nights in Burlington, and very smoothly transitioned into “ATL,” which really showcased Al Schnier and Vinnie Amico’s ability to work as a unit. During “ATL” it was very apparent that the band was having lots of fun and ready to have tons more. After a very energetic ending of “ATL,” the band took a break filled with lots of banter between the whole band, mainly focused on Rob poking fun at guitarist Chuck Garvey’s crowd work skills. The group broke into one of percussionist Jim Loughlin’s originals, “Chromatic Nightmare,” which is an extremely impressive showcase of the musicianship in the band. Chuck took the helm towards the end of the song with a crushing solo before the band did a “no huddle” transition into “Annihilation Blues.” This version of “Annihilation Blues” was pretty standard, and helped bring up the mood after the weird jazziness of “Chromatic Nightmare.” After a rather quick jam section, the band brought the song into “Seat of my Pants,” one of three repeats from last year’s Calvin Theatre show. This “Seat of my Pants” featured the first big peak of the night, led by Al Schnier, who was in full rockstar mode. Any moe.rons who attended last year’s Calvin show will remember Al soloing right on the edge of stage and using a guy’s head as a guitar slide, which Al paid homage to by performing another killer solo on the edge of the stage, sans guitar head-slide. The band brought the jam into one more verse and chorus before ending the segment.
To close out the set, the band presented the first big highlight of the night, “Montego” > “Kyle’s Song” > “head.” “Montego”’s Latin sound switched the mood up after the very upbeat and reggae-esque “Seat of My Pants,” and featured a very trippy jam led by Loughlin and Schnier. The band transitioned into the slow, but warm, “Kyle’s Song,” kicking it off with Derhak playing the very recognizable intro bass riff. The whole crowd was singing along and participating in the usual clapping, even joined by Schnier for most sections. Lighting Director Preston Hoffman was flexing his lighting muscles during this “Kyle’s Song,” putting on one of the more impressive lighting performances of the show. Chuck Garvey took the helm of this jam, taking a lengthy but impressive solo tensely leading the whole band into one last chorus, before they started energetically building into “head.” The jam into “head.” featured a big Rob solo before starting into the main riff of the song. “head.” was met with a roar from the crowd and got everyone in the room pumped up as the band was steaming ahead like a freight train on stage. The jam featured an Al-Jim call and response section initiated by Rob, and a killer slide solo from Chuck before they ended the song.
The group opened the second set with their bluegrass tune “Queen of Everything,” which was an interesting way to start off set 2 after the high energy “head.” first set closer. After an energetic ending, the band “no huddle” segued into one of Garvey’s new songs, “Who You Calling Scared,” which was debuted at the State Theater in Maine this past February. “Who You Calling Scared” featured a very fun blues jam to close out the segment. The group wasted no time as they broke into one of my favorite moe. songs, “Four,” another repeat from last February’s Calvin Theater show. This version of “Four” was really solid, and the second big highlight of the show. “Four” featured a lot of .rons’ favorite moment from Saturday’s show: a great extended solo from Rob that featured some strange but cool synth bass tones. After Rob’s solo, the group brought the song into the third big peak of the night before one more chorus that had the whole theater singing along. “Four” smoothly transitioned into the rocker “Deep This Time,” the last of the repeats from last year’s show. Chuck broke out the slide again, starting a trend in his playing throughout the set. This version of “Deep This Time” was fairly standard and brought to close with no big jam section.
The band started into another one of the post-hiatus debuts, Loughlin’s soulful “I Can Never Remember.” This is one of my favorites of all the new songs they’ve debuted since their return as it really allows for a chance to let Jim’s voice shine and its slow, somber feel serves as a nice break between all the big peaks moe. sets tend to contain. Chuck took a great solo to end the song, rounding out this extremely solid version of “I Can Never Remember.” “Not Coming Down” started off the last segment of the night, bringing the mood up and featuring Rob Derhak’s slapping capabilities. The song had another big crowd sing along moment before taking a lesson from Wormwood’s track listing and transitioning into “Wormwood,” which brought the set back into the slower mood that “I Can Never Remember” was evoking. “Wormwood” is a great showcase of Chuck’s slide playing, which he was already showing off earlier in the show. After a pretty standard version of “Wormwood”, the band segued into “Puebla” > “St. Augustine,” the last big highlight of the show. “Puebla” set a mysterious mood in the theater, and the band made quick work of getting to the jam. This jam section started off slowly but heavily featured Rob and Vinnie’s impressiveness as a rhythm section, as the duo kept driving the jam faster and faster until they had built up enough tension to transition into “St. Augustine.” Schnier also played very heavily into “Puebla”’s jam section, taking his solo to shred city as the band steamed on behind him. The segue into “St. Augustine” was very energetic and made the crowd go wild. This song quickly picked up the pace from “Puebla” and served as a great second set closer, as the crowd sang along and the band had fun with a bluegrass-y jam towards the end. The band brought “St. Augustine” into one last chorus sing along with the crowd before ending the segment.
The group encored with the heavy but energetic Wormwood cut, “Crab Eyes” which was a great way to end this burner of a show. Two years in a row now, moe. has served up absolute heaters in Northampton! Seems like they should keep ending all their tours down at the Calvin Theatre, as one moe.ron put it, “Never miss a Calvin show!”
Show Highlights: Montego > Kyle’s Song > head., Four, Puebla > St. Augustine
Setlist: Set 1: Captain America > ATL, Chromatic Nightmare (nh) > Annihilation Blues > Seat of my Pants, Montego > Kyle’s Song > head.
Set 2: Queen of Everything (nh) > Who You Calling Scared, Four > Deep This Time, I Can Never Remember, Not Coming Down > Wormwood > Puebla > St. Augustine
Encore: Crab Eyes
Purchase & Listen to the show on Nugs.net.