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  • December 5th, 2016

    reCAP :: moe. :: 2016.12.03

    Words by Bill Clifford
    Photos by Andrew Blackstein

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    Upstate Jamband stalwarts moe. returned to The Capitol Theater over the weekend, booked as A Famoe.ly Holiday Concert. Needing no introduction to Cap fans nor to New York or northeast live music fans, the weekend performance included a Sunday afternoon brunch set at Garcia’s that sold out well in advance. The quintet sparked quite a party on Saturday night in the theater and a packed & fired up crowd felt right at home like a bunch of old friends & family coming together in a toasty, cozy docile we all know so well on a cold winters night.

    Indeed it was an evening for family and friends, as members of the bands’ own family were scattered about the theater, mingling amongst the crowd. Further, the quintet has developed such a rabid following in the New York area of fans that make each and every show. No matter where a fan found him/herself in the audience, there was always a friendly face to greet you, hugs and good cheer were everywhere. Naturally, we’re all famoely and The Capitol Theater always feels like home.

    moe. used the evening to dust off a few holiday themed songs, most of which they’ve released on its 2002 disc Season’s Greetings from moe. A jovial run through “New York City” opened the performance – a fitting honor and acknowledgment of some of the best fans anywhere. The upbeat, rousing chorus drew sing-a-alongs from the crowd. “Linus & Lucy” followed as the first holiday themed song. Guitarist Al Schnier has been known to play the keyboards occasionally in the past. Not tonight however and this piano man ditty was certainly missing that element.

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    moe. has never shied away from it’s identity as a jamband. The quintet displayed its improvisational prowess on “Head,” which moved through a musical interlude of “Zed nought Z” & then circled back around to “Head.” This jam-wich gave the crowd it’s first highly visual lighting display as well – psychedelic swirls of seashells and other aquatic life enveloped the walls of the theater. Schnier debuted “Angel,” showcasing his love of pop and roots music and songwriting. It was a lovely tune with crisp guitar and vibraphone harmonies from Jim Loughlin – moe.’s unsung hero. Finally, a lengthy run through the jam vehicle “Recreational Chemistry” raised the roof and raved up the crowd as a set closer.

    “Puebla” opened the second set; though short on lyrics, it’s none the less one of moe.’s most interesting songs – at least for this reviewer. it relates the tale of a Mexican battle victory against french soldiers – during the Franco-Mexican war – which took place on May 5, 1862; the real reason for the celebration of Cinco de Mayo. Musically, sweet slide guitar pairs nicely with vibraphone harmonies. Two new originals made a debut during the second set; another introspective tune, “Don’t Wanna Be,” that contemplates dying too young & is highlighted by vibraphone accents. And a new Rob Derhak original – “Prestige Worldwide” – that opened up plenty of space for all kinds of improvisation. The Christmas theme continued as well, including “Carol of the Bells,” & a two-song punk rock styled encore that saw Derhak dressed in a Santa suit and included the debut performance of the band’s take on The Kink’s Christmas classic, “Father Christmas,” then concluded with the Rudolph inspired “We’re a Couple of Misfits.”

    On Sunday , the band concluded the weekend with a brunch set in the intimate confines of Garcia’s for a select group of famoe.ly and friends. The band is set to release a live recording from The Fillmore in San Francisco as part of its Warts and All series, and hopefully a new studio recording sometime next year. With the band heading out to Montana for its NYE celebration this year, this holiday famoe.ly party was a great way to close out the year with our east coast famoe.ly and friends, and The Capitol Theater made us all feel at home.

    The Capitol Theatre Photo Gallery

    Photos by Andrew Blackstein