Rocky Mountain Ramblings

Phish Dick’s 2015: Please, Be Kind. September 8, 2015

It occurred to me during Phish’s Sunday night “THANK YOU” encore at Dick’s that perhaps part of the reason Trey Anastasio played with Dead50 was so that he could train under their leadership on how to make a community feel more banded, more connected and more uplifted by spreading a peaceful, positive message, giving thanks, and playing a unifying song that makes people feel stronger, like “United We Stand”.

keyboardarmyJB

After Friday night’s show I saw a status update from a Deadhead friend who said the people on Phish lot are mean and rude and that he didn’t have a very good time.  At first I wasn’t sure I agreed with his post, until I coincidentally experienced people be rude to me on Phish lot the very next night.

First I walked by a guy who had a table set up with glass pipes and he asked me if I wanted to buy one and I said no.  He responded with a nasty attitude and told me to “keep walking, then.”  First of all, I was still walking, and second of all, there was no reason to be nasty to me just because I happened to walk by his booth and didn’t want or need to purchase a glass pipe from him.

About thirty minutes later I had a girl be a bitch to me because I bought a burrito at the stand next to hers and she didn’t like that I stopped to take a bite of the burrito in front of her stand and she came out and commanded me to “go eat my burrito somewhere else.”  I had just put condiments on my burrito and had only been standing there for about 30 seconds when she rudely asked me to move.

I realized then that my friend was kind of right; the scene contained some unconscious, non-friendly people, which of course happens everywhere, but shouldn’t.  I think the Grateful Dead always made valiant effort to fill their fans with good words, lyrics, messages and vibes, and I think this is something they told Trey Anastasio – that he needs to ensure his band carries on the legacy and uplifts their fans to feel like better, kinder people than they were yesterday.

The Phish scene will never be the Dead scene, and that’s OK, because it is what it is.  I think this was also made evident to me in the camp site, when people were listening to Hanson and 80s music that I had to get away from, and when some idiot sat down in our camp and started talking very loudly about how he thinks Donald Trump is the best candidate for presidency.  I asked him to take his conversation elsewhere and he responded by telling me that I probably don’t even vote, and I don’t know what I’m talking about.  He pissed me off more than anything the entire weekend, he made my heart beat fast and he made me want to be mean back to him, but I kept my mouth shut, because deep down I know that anyone who has to talk at a louder volume than anyone else to make sure his opinions are heard is really the most ignorant person in the group.  Plus, of course I fucking vote, and I’m an organ donor, because that’s what Bob Weir and Phil Lesh asked of me years ago when I fell in love with their music.

Phish definitely knows how to throw a party, and I love dancing to their grooves, and I think I see that they are trying to take their power to the next level and unite their fans.  Hopefully their message spreads, they stay healthy and continue to play together for another 20 years so I can attend their 50th anniversary concerts one day.

 

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead at The Ogden February 16, 2015

I saw Joe Russo’s Almost Dead at The Ogden Theater in Denver last night, and it has recently been considered by some to be the greatest Grateful Dead cover band of all time.  The band is cast with some very outstanding musicians, and it definitely brings a new energy and perspective to the much-loved tunes that have been played for years.

Google photo stock

Google photo stock

While JRAD tries to stick to traditional sound during each song, the jams and improvisations are incredibly unique and progressive.  “It’s like a modern day ‘Space’,” I commented during one instrumental portion of the show when Russo held his drum sticks above his drum set, making it look like he was creating sound, even though it was coming from Marco Benevento on keys.

Tommy Hamilton simply shreds his role as lead guitarist, and I think his sound gives fans insight as to what Trey Anastasio might sound like when playing with The Dead this summer. Hamilton’s vocal cords don’t really resonate with those of the late Jerry Garcia, which is something I am accustomed to when seeing Dead cover bands.  “It’s not about the vocals with this band,” said Chris, after I commented that both guitarists, Hamilton and Scott Metzger, read lyrics off their music stands, and of course he was right.  So much talent rains out of this band, you can’t help but be blown away by their sound, and at least Metzger does a pretty good impersonation of Bob Weir on vocals.

The band’s namesake, Joe Russo, was front and center on drums, beating away all night, pouring all his energy into every song.  He played so hard, in fact, that part of his drum kit disassembled during “Shakedown Street” toward the end of the first set.  The band had to stop playing, and the house tried to cover for them by putting a “Shakedown Street” remix on over the speakers as the band walked off stage without appropriate or well-deserved applause from the audience. The band snuck back on stage after setbreak and picked up the Shakedown jam right where they left off, and Chris and I tried to regain our spots in the center of the first tier, but the crowd was too thick and we spent second set a little further back.

Stage left of Russo was bassist Dave Drewitz (from Ween), and he brought some awesome new licks and flavor to the classic songs.  I can only imagine how awesome it would have been to have seen him play side by side with Phil Lesh this past New Year’s Eve in New York, because last night my face got rocked and my spirit refreshed from spending a few hours in the presence of such talented instrumentalists.

Just like when I saw JRAD in Denver this past October, after the show ended people raved about the band, saying they put on a better show than Furthur, or any current Dead cover/tribute band.  While I do agree that Furthur does not have the same youthful energy as JRAD, I can’t say that JRAD is better.  Nobody can be better than the original artist, that’s not the way the universe works.  The cover band wouldn’t even be on tour if it weren’t for the OGs.

While leaving the venue last night a man behind me said, “Fuck The Dead’s 50th anniversary shows in Chicago, I’m going on JRAD tour,” and I thought to myself, “Good.  Go on JRAD tour. You’ll be one less person to fight for tickets in Chicago, cause that’s gonna be that real deal Grateful Dead shit.”

I left the JRAD show feeling great.  I was very happy to go out, see friends, dance my booty off and have my musical horizons expanded to a new level, but man, now all I can think about is how I need to see Phil Lesh in the flesh as soon as possible!

 

Chicago Afrobeat Project & Euforchestra @ Cervantes’ Other Side 04.14.2011 April 15, 2011

I saw some amazing afrobeat music last night at Cervantes’ Other Side, located in the beautiful and historic Five Points district of Denver, Colorado. The two bands that performed were Chicago Afrobeat Project and Euforchestra, and let me tell ya, it was a rump shaking, beat breaking, soul waking good time!

The way it went down was that CAbP played one set, then Euforchestra played one set, then CAbP played one set, and then Euforchestra played one more set to end the night, and the jamming went slightly longer than the venue’s 2 AM closing time. The music of both bands was amazing, and I can tell today that I burned some serious calories twirlin’ around that dance floor.

CAbP is based out of Chicago, IL, and they have a lot going on. The band’s front man vocalist has enough soul and energy to make any right-minded person bust a move on his own accord, but when accompanied by all the other talented goodness the various band members have to offer, the result is powerful. There were about eight people on stage, including but limited to; a drummer, percussionist, guitar, bass, two saxophonists and a few other instruments of joy. At one point a lot of the band members were beating on the kind drums that you would imagine the Little Drummer Boy playing. I really liked that part and found my ass was getting closer and closer to the ground. As Trey would say, “shake me up, shake me down, shakin’ that thing all over town…”

Chicago Afrobeat Project

I had a blast getting down CAbP and I would definitely see them again. They are playing Friday night in Fort Collins and doing another “surprise” show Saturday night in Denver, location still to be announced. If you’re into shaking, I suggest you go get shook by The Chicago Afrobeat Project!

Euforchestra is a band originally from Iowa City, IA and now based out of Fort Collins, CO. They also displayed a taste for the afrobeat with their high intensity rhythmic sambas that captured me in a smiling and dancing trance. Euforchestra has strong percussion and silky saxophones and they kept things spicey with a variety of sounds. They rocked out a reggae tune or two, and the percussionist did a rather swell job vocalizing, for a white boy.

Euforchestra

It was my first time seeing this band, and it certainly won’t be my last. You can find Euforchestra performing at multiple festivals this season, including Summer Camp, Waterfront and Electric Forest, to name a few. You can also download a free album at http://www.euforchestra.com!

There were moments where the two bands collaborated and all played on stage together, and it was wild, far-out, nifty and neat. The dancing I did during the show definitely made me feel a lot better about the fact that I didn’t do any biking or swimming after work this week. I am glad I went out on a Thursday night, even if I was one of the last people out of the venue and had to report to the cube early this morning. I think it was well worth it!

Another good time in the Mile High!

**photos taken from the web b/c I didn’t have a camera with me.

 

Disco Biscuits at The Ogden 1/15/11 February 4, 2011

Filed under: Show/Concert Reviews — rovinglady @ 2:50 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Oh, Colorado. The place where one awesome weekend runs right into another, with five days of what I now refer to as “workidaze” in between.

Disco Biscuits at The Ogden Theater on 1/15/11, can we talk about this for a minute? Because I’ve been meaning to document the fabulousness that was that day ever since it happened, but I was actually abducted and taken to space at the show and by the time I found my way back the next weekend had begun, and in my experience, weekends are for enjoying situations of which to be documented, not to perform actual documentation…

Denver Disco Biscuits day started early – I think it was about 10:30 AM that I received word a crew was meeting for bottomless mimosas at The Irish Snug on Colfax Ave. Though I momentarily debated the day drinking, I decided it best to put on my concert attire (which included my never-worn silver sequin stretch pants and my “fish tits” tank top,) and head out for a work-free day on the town with my party people.

Binge drinking and allowing a rave couple to photograph my “shiney hiney”at The Irish Snug turned into more drinking and debauchery at The Cheeky Monk. At that bar I ran outside to watch a man face down on the sidewalk get handcuffed by two cops, and I then applauded and shouted “Freedom!” after they uncuffed him and let him back into the world that is Colfax Ave.

After taking a brief intermission from day partying (or did we take an intermission?) the crew re-gained strength and buzz at Sanchos Broken Arrow before heading to the venue. Some of my friends marched right on down to the pit and that is where I began my show; front row, on the railing, stage right. I actually didn’t even make it through the entire first song in the front row because I really dislike being smushed in a crowd, but I learned something in my short-lived glory…I have what may be referred to as a “musicians crush” on bassist Marc Brownstein. Oh yes, it’s true; I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He’s from Philly, he makes amazing music, I imagine he’s got a cool personality and he’s a bobble head with cute style. I dig it.

I ended up spending a majority of the show on a second level balcony and even that was crowded. In fact, one of my friends said he didn’t see the band one time from our spot. I, on the other hand, made it a point to squeeze into a space near the balcony railing and this was one of the best decisions I could have possibly made. I literally said “oh my god,” when I saw the laser light show that was going down, and I’m pretty darn sure that it was the best concert light experience I have ever had.

From my position on the upper deck the horizontal lasers that shot out across the venue were exactly at my eye level, transporting me through galaxies, carrying me through the cosmos. At some points I was hanging over the balcony railing, flailing my arms into the lights and feeling like I was on some sort of amusement park ride, or watching a 3-D star show in a planetarium. It was absolutely amazing and I believe it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was in the right spot at the right venue at the right time. What a spectacle!

Of course, I also thought the music was outstanding and so well enhanced by the light display.  The entire show was a booty shaking good time, and the band played one of my all-time favorite songs, “I-Man” as well as one of my new found favorite songs, “We like to Party.” I also really wanted to hear “Home Again,” and you can bet your bottom dollar I was tickled beyond belief when it was performed as the encore.

This was one of those concerts that I didn’t want to end. Everyone I saw was a smiling, sweating, dancing mess, and I am sure that the missions of all in attendance were accomplished (RAGE FACE!).

During the show Brownstein announced there will be a third annual Bisco Inferno this May right here in CoolaRADo, and he also put to rest some rumors that he (and the band) are re-locating to Denver. The answer to that rumor was, if he gets busted smoking pot one more time in Philadelphia, he will move to Denver. At first my opinion on this was, “don’t wait until you get arrested, move now!” But then I realized that whatever the band has going on in Philly is a damn good thing, and I would rather that carry on than have the satisfaction that “the band lives in the same city as me.”

On that note, I think my synopsis is complete. Morale of the story – the Disco Biscuits know how to throw down.  Here is an awesome video of the band in the studio!

 

Furthur @ Red Rocks – The Bus Came By and I Got On…Isn’t this How All Good Tales Begin? September 29, 2010

Filed under: Show/Concert Reviews — rovinglady @ 7:55 pm


Furthur recently played three nights in a row at the incredibly astounding Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, CO and I was fortunate enough to attend two of the shows (Saturday 09.25.10 and Sunday 09.26.10). Just as I may have suspected, my experience was incredible, and synchronized, and beautiful….and wonderful.

I am a lucky, lucky girl.

At first I only planned to go to Sunday’s show because it wasn’t sold out and I had budgeted for a ticket. But I woke up Saturday and heard Red Rocks calling my name. I had nothing else planned for the day, it was absolutely gorgeous outside and there I was, only 20 miles from the venue. I contemplated the chances of me getting handed a miracle (free) ticket from some generous head, and assumed my chances were low. After all, it was a Saturday night FURTHUR show at RED ROCKS, and that’s a prrretty big deal in this social circle…

Saturday morning actually didn’t start out so great for me, but it’s exactly how it was supposed to be. I woke up with a slight hangover and realized for the first time in my life, I lost my wallet while out debaucherizing the night before. I called the last establishment I frequented Friday night, which just so happened to be a Grateful Dead themed bar called Sancho’s in Denver.

“Hi, I’m calling because I hope I left my wallet there last night. It’s red…with a white cross…like Switzerland……” (Side note: I got my wallet in Switzerland in 2005 and have used it ever since and refuse to get a new wallet until I get back there to buy one myself.)

“Yup. It’s here,” the bartender said.

I couldn’t believe my luck. I told him I loved him and would be down soon to pick it up. I think Jerry pulled some strings for me with that one. (If Jerry were here, he’d want me to have a miracle…)

As I was approaching Sancho’s I started to see some people in Grateful Dead tye-dyes that I assumed were heading to the show, and it gave me good vibes. After retrieving my wallet I was waiting to cross the street outside the bar and I began talking with a circle of people that were going to Red Rocks and they offered me a sober ride to and from the venue.

I didn’t take the ride, but I think the whole Sancho’s experience totally made me decide to at least go to the venue and TRY for a miracle, if nothing else it would be fun and entertaining. I was going with the “you only live once” motto, as do Phil and Bobby….

I headed to the venue solo and when I very first got there I was ushered into a parking lot and suddenly thought maybe I would scratch the whole idea and leave because I had slight anxiety about being there by myself. I drove out of the lot and started to head toward the venue exit but then decided to pull over on the side of the park road and think for a minute. I felt much more comfortable once I was parked on the side of the road and out of the crowded lot (easy access if I ended up leaving early), and I decided I might as well give the miracle thing a try since I was there and happy with my parking spot. Funny because after I decided I would stay a thought passed through my mind that later in the night I would say to myself, “I can’t believe I almost left.”

I had made a colorful and glittery sign especially for the show that said, “I would love a miracle” and planned to walk around holding that. I didn’t want to straight up ASK anyone for a free ticket, and I didn’t want to walk around with my finger in the air. I chose to write “I would love a miracle” instead of “I need a miracle” but I really didn’t NEED it whatsoever, I just really wanted to be at the show and couldn’t really swing it, plus I recently drove 1800 miles from New Jersey to be here and I fucking love the music and I just thought I should probably be at the show and maybe someone else would feel the same. And yup, I was right.

The very first “friends” I made were parked only three cars down from me and their genuine conversation quickly squashed any bad thoughts I was having about being there by myself. Plus they gave me a couple pulls of whiskey, and that always helps make the women and men start lookin’ good…

I walked around for about 2 hours with my sign. A lot of people looked at it and liked it, a few took pictures, and multiple people assured me I would get my miracle, but nobody offered a ticket. At one point someone suggested I head down to the will call / box office and said that might be my best bet to find someone with an extra. I got a ride down the hill and stood for a little while where cars were entering the park. There were a couple other people looking for miracles in this spot, including Pete from Detroit and Kate in the orange dress. I talked with both of them while waiting around, then said goodbye, wished them luck and headed back to my car…

By the time I walked back to my car it was almost show time and I pretty much decided no way I was getting a free ticket, so I loaded up my purse and decided I would hike a hill behind the amphitheater where people sit to listen to the music, even though I heard mixed reviews about whether or not the hike is worth it. I walked across a parking lot toward the path to the hill and I was so close to it, within throwing distance, when these two men at their car, pretty much the last two people I was going to see before getting to the path, said hello and said something about flying in from New York for the shows and how excited they were to be at Red Rocks for their first time. I told them I was from New Jersey and we started talking and shooting the sh*t….I showed them my miracle sign and told them I was going to hike the hill and they suggested I attempt to get into the show with them. I was down for the try. The men told me to board a shuttle bus with them that they had special passes for that drove us right up the big hill and let us out next to the stage. I was so nervous when I got out of the shuttle and saw there was a woman scanning tickets, but the men insisted I would get in. While they stalled the ticket scanner getting their own tickets out of an envelope, a married couple that was in the shuttle helped to shield me and I snuck past ticket lady and ran into the venue. I was in! Victory! Complete elation! I couldn’t believe it, I was so excited! I gave the woman who shielded me a big hug and showed her my sign and told her how grateful I was and she said her and her husband had seen me earlier in the day with the sign and they commented on it and she was happy she helped get me into the show!

Within five minutes of being in there I made a show buddy, Mike from Portland, AND saw Pete from Detroit. Seeing Pete really helped set off the night; knowing that he got in, too. What a beautiful buzz.

During entire first set Mike from Portland and I were standing with two guys who I thought were his friends, because it seemed like we were all singing and dancing together to the groovy tunes, but it turned out he didn’t know them, either. But I will never forget something that happened between the four of us. It was during the song “Viola Lee Blues” (which need I mention I love?) The band sang the lyric, “I wrote a letter, I mailed it in the air, you may know by that I’ve got a friend somewhere!” And all four of us looked at each other, and we were all belting out hearts out and raised our voices and arms to the air. It was amazing. I felt the love so strong, that’s why I could have sworn they were all friends! It was great. It was fuckin’ great.

Wanna know what else was great? When they played “Sitting on Top of the World”. It’s another song I’ve always had a special thing for but have rarely heard live, and to hear it at freakin’ Red Rocks Amphitheater, when you really do feel as though you are sitting on top of the (Denver metro) world, was just phenomenal. They also played “Cumberland Blues” which is a song I have always heard ring true in my soul and I was simply delighted, because to me at that moment on that night it meant even more than it ever has before. I felt as though I have finally made the change I wanted and needed to make, even though I am constantly second guessing myself. I just needed the gold old boys to tell me everything was going to be OK.

As it turned out, one of my friends that loves to make fun of me for loving Grateful Dead ended up with a backstage VIP pass to the show so during intermission Mike from Portland and I went to meet him in row 7 and that’s where I stayed for the remainder of the concert. I never even left my spot to go to the bathroom, and that is pretty impressive for me. Being in row 7 was amazing, it actually wasn’t as crowded as I may have expected and I had a fantastic view of the band.

After thrilling me with “I know You Rider” the band busted into “Terrapin Suite”, and once again I was beside myself, to hear my all time favorite ballad, a song that sparks up a slew of reflections and recollections for me, from row 7 at Red Rocks Amphitheater at a show I got in for free because I wanted it that bad…yes, my soul was pleased. Plus I had my terrapin turtle necklace on, a gift from a friend several years ago that I haven’t spoken to recently who just so happened to e-mail me Monday after the shows. It was meant to be. I was also very happy to hear “Stella Blue” and “The Other One”. I thought hearing “The Other One” was slightly ironic because lyrics from that song are painted on the walls inside the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, OR, and that is where my show buddy was from. Also, the only time I’ve been to the Crystal Ballroom I was with my friend that had the backstage pass…

The entire day really turned into such a great experience, definitely a top favorite memory. In fact, as time goes on I am sure it will end up meaning more to me than I even know right now, and I think I will leave it at that.

And then there was Sunday.

I went to the Sunday show with two other east coast / Denver transients and it was a much more relaxed day. A Sunday dusk dead show. Very chill. This show was great because my friend and I both ran into some surprise faces. First we were parked only three cars down from people he had camped and hung out with at The Gorge. Then when we were in line to get in the show I turned around and there were a couple people I knew from New Jersey potluck dinners right behind me. Inside the venue I saw a guy I knew from Chicago, another friend from Summit County, Kate in the orange dress and Pete from Detroit! I was happy to see Pete again and he hung with my crew all of second set.

At this show I was particularly happy with the encore, which was “Touch of Grey” and “Brokedown Palace”. Though “Touch of Grey” is a cliché Dead song, it is a song I listened to on repeat this summer from the day I decided I was going to hightail it out to the Rockies until the day I left town. The song gave me strength to get out here, and since I followed through with my plan, Furthur played the song for me at Red Rocks. “Leap, and a net will appear.” (Am I mentally ill?)

Listening to “Brokedown Palace” kind of got me thinking about the big picture of the Grateful Dead scene I have taken part in the past eight years. I thought about how I saw my first big show at Alpine Valley, WI in 2002, and now I was seeing two of the original, yet now 70 year old members of the Grateful Dead at Red Rocks, and wow, they are looking old. Here I am very far from my home, making an attempt at some type of independent life, and I had the opportunity to see the music I love at an incredible venue, and I took advantage of it. If it’s the last time I see the band, I would be happy. Start and end with a bang, with a few good shakedowns in between. I’m not trying to sound morbid or pessimistic here, I’m just saying they’re getting old, and they closed a three day run at Red Rocks with “Brokedown Palace”. Think of it what you will.

….Mama, mama many worlds I’ve come since I first left home….

 

PLeeko @ Blue Ribbon, Branchville, NJ 3/13/10 March 15, 2010

Filed under: Show/Concert Reviews — rovinglady @ 12:45 am
Tags: , , , ,

Last night I saw for my second time the rather “new and upcoming” band PLeeko play at Blue Ribbon Bar and Restaurant in Branchville, NJ. Despite the hurricane-like storm going on outside, a large turn-out of people made great use of the establishment’s spacious dance floor, and PLeeko rocked the house for almost a good four hours. Along with jamfunky originals, they covered a multitude of 80s classic rock party songs to go with the theme of the night, which was“80s dance party.”

As it turned out, not that many people embraced the 80s theme, but look at how festive my friends were! Though I’m not in the picture, I used the night as an excuse to finally pair my grey and white tye-dye stretch pants with brown leg warmers and my new (vintage) Snoopy tank top…an outfit I’d just been dying to wear out of the house.

Blue Ribbon was a great place to see PLeeko. Very large and open, there was no charge to get in, and they have incredibly reasonably priced adult beverages. I never had to wait in line for the bathroom and I felt completely comfortable leaving my jacket and bag unattended while I was shaking my hips on the slippery dance floor. (The floor was soaked all night from the rain and peoples’ shoes…and of course plenty of spilled beer and booze.)

I am really, really feeling this band, PLeeko! Originating from Sussex County, NJ, it is comprised of four guys: Josh Nodarse on guitar and vocals, Nick DeLear on drums and vocals, Erin McKenna on keyboards and vocals and Paul Schmidt on bass and vocals. They are self-described to have a sound that blends jazz, funk and electronica rock, and I completely agree. They no doubt in my mind bear a striking resemblance to both Phish and The Disco Biscuits. PLeeko formed in March of 2009 and is not currently signed on a record label, but they are the kind of band I hope to, would love to and expect to see playing late night shows at festivals across the country soon enough! They send out the vibe that says, “GET DOWN, OR GO HOME!” You dig?


Both times I have seen PLeeko I have had so much fun and found it impossible to ever stop dancing. There’s not many “local bar bands” that have the ability to really get me moving and satisfy me as though I had paid anywhere from $25-$100 to see a “real show” at a “music venue.” Granted, I had to drive 40 minutes both there and back to get to this said “local show”, and with daylight savings occurring this weekend I didn’t get home until 4 AM and had to work in the (late) morning, but it was alllll very well worth it!

Basically, PLeeko rocks, and you should probably try to, or at least hope to, check them out live for your self one day. They have upcoming shows scheduled for almost every weekend for the next six weeks in the northwestern New Jersey / lower New York state area. If you feel like dancing and jamming out and letting your brain travel into space for a few hours, and meeting fun and friendly New Jersey party people, then come on and get your groove on!

And here ya go, a video, because youtube never lets me down.

 

moe. at The Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg, PA – 01/27/10 January 28, 2010

Filed under: Show/Concert Reviews — rovinglady @ 4:04 pm
Tags: , , ,

moe. is a progressive jam/rock band that has been touring the United States for about twenty years. Their sound is dominated by guitar and well-enhanced with percussion and an instrument that is rarely seen in any touring rock band, a xylophone – which kind of makes up for the obvious fact that the band lacks the sound of consistent keyboard playing. Their musical compositions are jammy, though not spacey. They remain grounded to roots and rock and create plenty of hip shaking beats, but their sound does not deliver me into a tribal zone of musical hypnotization.

On Wednesday, January 27, 2010 I saw moe. preform at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, PA. The band, which consists of Vinnie Amico on drums, Rob Derhak on bass, Chuck Garvey on guitar, Al Schnier on guitar and Jim Loughlin on percussion, formed at the University of Buffalo in 1989 and has been moving up in the American jam-band scene at a steady pace every since. moe. has headlined a multitude of large-scale, commercial music festivals, they have played two New Year’s shows at the world famous Radio City Music Hall and they throw several of their own festivals and events each year; including performing at ski resorts, on cruise ships and on desert islands. Their music has created a following of dedicated fans that are ready to travel the country and willing to spend their hard-earned money on the perfectly tweaked guitar rift, dubbed moe.rons.

moe.’s sound can be compared to the likes of Phish or Widespread Panic, though moe. clearly has their own repertoire, ideas and performance rituals. At last night’s show the crowd went crazy when all five band members came out on stage in black suits and ties. moe. may not be tribal or spacey, but they sure do know how to rock, and they rock it well. During the show I never once thought that the band wasn’t giving it their all, or that they weren’t enjoying what they were doing.

I traveled to the show with my local friend Sue, and it was my turn to drive. We had about a 45 minute ride, but a very easy and straight shot, and it was nice not to have to travel into or toward the crowded city for a show. As usual when a jam band is playing at The Sherman Theater, we the people took over a majority of the food and beverage establishments in the town. Sue and I got a beer before the show at a bar and restaurant called Floods, and that joint was packed tight! Grateful Dead and Phish were being played on the digital jukebox, and almost every longhair I looked at had a smile on his or her face.

Sue and I met up with some friends and went into the venue at 8 PM. The band walked on stage about 8:30 PM, and as previously mentioned, they were dressed to kill. They opened with “Cathedral”, which means nothing to me because I couldn’t even name you one single moe. song. However, according to his Facebook status update, a friend of mine who attended his 117th moe. show last night thought the first set was “sick.” I personally was focusing on getting a slight buzz on during the first set because I found I was kind of, well, bored.

But things picked up for me…

I hooked up with my friend Mary J. during first set and we talked about how it was her 50th show and she wanted to give a note to the band so they would announce it, but she didn’t have paper. I always keep a little notepad in my show fanny, so I wrote up the message (and snapped this quick pic!)

We pushed our way through the crowd, right up to the stage, just as the first set was ending. Though she tried to give it to a band member, as seen in the photo, Mary ended up giving her note to a stage crew member.

And then it was intermission.

The Sherman Theater is a very nice place to see a show because they actually let you outside to smoke whenever you want, and as long as you have a wristband you can get back inside without any hassle. Heads took up an entire block or two outside the theater during intermission, and I didn’t see a single police officer. I did see and hear a few nitrous tanks, though. Some hilarity ensued, but I am going to save the really juicy stuff for the private journal.

The band took what seemed like a really long set break, and a few of us ended up going in “the dive bar on the corner” where I ordered a Pabst Blue Ribbon and a Pepsi. The bartender asked me if I would like a small beer. “How about medium?” I asked. She said they didn’t have medium, so I suggested large and she returned with a pint of PBR and a cup of Pepsi for a grand total of $2.00. Two dollars. I was stupefied. It was so cheap I didn’t even care that I only took three sips of the beer and then left it on a table after a spontaneous decision that I much rather be inside the venue than at that dive bar where Charlie Daniels’ “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” was blaring through the sound system.

Second set was fun. I had been standing back aways from the stage, but in the beginning of second set some really tall guy grabbed my shoulders and told me that if I came with him, he “promised me” that I would soon be standing much closer to the stage. Not much else was goin’ on for me at the moment so I followed the guy and ended up seeing a group of my friends up front and went and hung out with them. I kind of felt bad I ditched the tall guy but it was cool he led me up front like that and I am glad I took advantage of the small venue and my opportunity to stand close to the stage in one of the first few rows.

Something else I was grateful for during the show is whoever showed me the “secret” bathroom around the corner and up the stairs from the main bathroom. I never had to wait in line. Also, I ran into this chick Lee Ann who I had met almost five years ago through this guy I dated for one summer. Lee Ann ended up dancing with me, Mary and the girl with the fuzzy white hat for a little while and she brought some good energy. She got married and had two kids since the last time I saw her. I wouldn’t have recognized her in a million years. I guess I don’t look that different. Look, here’s a pic of Lee Ann’s INK!

moe. encored with a rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child” and they really souled up their sound by bringing out guest vocalist Nadine LaFond.

After moe. left the stage guitarist Al Schnier came back out and announced to the dispersing crowd that it was somebody’s birthday, as well as Mary J’s 50th show. It was cool our note’s mission was accomplished, and Mary J was so happy her name was announced she said she almost started crying! So that was a good way to end the show.

After the show let out Sue and I bee-lined for the car and headed home. On a scale of 1-10, I rate moe. at a 6.5 for myself. I like them, they are in the same family of bands that I love and their sound definitely catches my interest, but it doesn’t hold it for all that long. I like to enter the zone, and they just don’t quite bring me there. But ya know what? They provided me with a really kick-ass Wednesday night at a rather affordable price, and they did it with gusto. Part of me wants to raise their rating to a 7.0, just because of the suits. They tried hard to deliver, and they did.

So thank you, moe. See ya next time.