• 149 WESTCHESTER AVENUE, PORT CHESTER, NY 10573-4549 · (914) 937-4126

  • February 5th, 2018

    reCAP :: moe. :: 2018.02.02 & 02.03

    Words by Chad Berndtson
    Photos by Jay Blakesberg

    There are moments you know are going to be emotional, well in advance, and you think that with so much time to mentally prepare for them, the impact will somehow be slight.

    Then they happen, and you still feel them hard — they bowl you over under the energy of a packed ballroom where everyone is thinking the same thing you are. Such was moe. bassist Rob Derhak’s triumphant return to the stage Friday night, and the beloved five piece’s first shows as a full band since July and since Derhak’s successful treatment for oropharyngeal cancer. It was a heavy and beautiful stop of time — complete with a massive banner on the Cap balcony saying “welcome back, rob!” and a heartfelt word from Derhak himself. “Thanks folks. I guess you’re not going to get rid of me that easy!”

    And then, moe. got back to business by getting down to it, lighting into a massive “Rebubula” and then one old-school moe crowd pleaser after another, with some delectable new tunes sprinkled in among decades-old favorites like “Akimbo,” “32 Things,” “Spine of a Dog” and “Plane Crash.”

    moe. Is a connoisseur’s jamband. Even their slower songs point forward and feel amped, and their jamming style isn’t one given to long stretches of ambient noise or nebulous noodling so much as angular builds, riding scorching guitar solos, or galloping rhythms, or vibraphone solos, or a well-placed bass breakdown. When they’re really on, they’re ferocious, and both Friday and Saturday night proved they have a lot left in the tank, even approaching three decades as a band and a lot of proverbial water on the bridge.

    Each of the four sets was built around a massive jamming suite or two, and these had heft, especially in the long construction within “Moth” on night one that featured smooth detours into “Captain America,” “Hector’s Pillow” and a 20-minute “meat.” It was hard to find a corner of classic moe. the band didn’t touch over Friday and Saturday, with warhorses like “Brent Black,” “Recreational Chemistry,” a Floydy/Allmansy “Silver Sun,” and the mesmerizing “Buster” summoned forth like old friends. Tucked in throughout, however — and as if to suggest the band is nowhere near any kind creative lull — came four new songs, one per set over the two nights. The standout was Chuck Garvey’s “New Hope for the New Year,” though Jim Loughlin’s “I Can Never,” Al Schnier’s “What Can I Say” and Derhak’s “LL3” all had boastable moe.-ness to them.

    More winning surprises and more new friends from a band, and a fanbase, with a lot to be thankful for. Welcome back boys.

    Friday 2/2

    Set 1: Rebubula > Akimbo, 32 Things, What Can I Say^, Spine of a Dog > Plane Crash

    Set 2: Silver Sun, LL3^, Moth > Captain America > Hector’s Pillow > Moth > meat. > Moth

    E: Wind It Up

    ^ new original, first time played

    Saturday 2/3

    Set 1: Okayalright > Not Coming Down > Wormwood > St. Augustine, I Can Never^^, All Roads, Opium, Recreational Chemistry

    Set 2: Brent Black, Mexico, Timmy Tucker, New Hope for the New Year^^, Yodelittle > George > Yodelittle > Buster

    E: Nebraska, Annihilation Blues

    ^^ new original, first time played

    The Capitol Theatre Photo Gallery

    Photos by Jay Blakesberg