Performing under the pseudonym Monkeys On Ecstasy, moe. treated 350 lucky fans to a performance at Empire Underground on Thursday, May 12. With guitarist Chuck Garvey on the mend, Suke Cerulo (Schleigho, Lynch) and Nate Wilson (Ghosts of Jupiter, Blue Star Radiation), the now-sextet of musicians warmed up for the summer shows that lie ahead, with a powerful 11-song performance.
A Monkeys on Ecstasy show provides moe. with the rare chance for a club performance, making for an intimate and intense show, one that diehard moe.rons gravitated to, selling the show out within 24 hours. Hundreds more would stream the show online as well, bringing a little bit of the magic of this show to the masses. Monkeys on Ecstasy shows have been played periodically over the years, allowing for surprise treats for fans, including a 1998 performance in Utica at Captain Trips Rainforest Cafe.
Fans in the Capital District will recall the August 18, 2005 performance of moe. as The Vinnie Amico Experience, where drummer Vinnie Amico took centerstage at a sweat-stained Revolution Hall.
For Thursday night, the band began at 8:13pm with fan favorite “Happy Hour Hero” segueing cleanly into “Silver Sun” and then the ever rare “Johnny Lineup.” For 42 minutes, there was not a single break in the action on stage, and prior to a lengthy intro to “Lazarus” did the band finally take a moment to breathe and thank the audience for joining them this evening. Just prior to “Buster,” the beginning of “Rebubula” was teased, before Rob Derhak took the reigns and played the iconic bass intro to “Buster.” The set ended up with “Downward Facing Dog” and a band that was tight and familiar, as two seasoned musicians to provided an ample substitute for Garvey.
The four song second set began with the heavy as ever “McBain,” allowing for plenty of improvisation between Wilson and Cerulo and guitarist Al Schnier. A patient fade into “Brent Black” paid off with a significant ‘drums’ portion from Amico and Jim Loughlin, which found its way into Pink Floyd’s “Interstellar Overdrive” and finally the classic moe. jam vehicle, “Recreational Chemistry.” To close the night, the relatively new “Skitchin Buffalo” served as a long encore, the audience pouring out to the alley behind North Pearl Street, having witnessed a rare as ever performance.
Monkeys on Ecstasy – Empire Underground – May 12, 2022
Set 1: Happy Hour Hero > Silver Sun > Johnny Lineup, Lazarus > Buster* > Downward Facing Dog
Set 2: Skrunk > Brent Black > Interstellar Overdrive > Recreational Chemistry
Encore: Skitchin Buffalo
*Rebubula intro fakeout