Review by Darren Kerr
Photography by Rodney Gitzel
Moe, from upstate New York, are the latest jamming virtuosos to give Relix magazine writers the big orgasm. And, rightly so: Moe take the doppleganger dual guitars of the Allmans, the over-the-top fuckery of Fripp, and the memorable songcrafting of early Little Feat -- and dope it up with reggae, funk and jazz elements.
I can't tell you what they opened this show with due to slight entrance complications (i.e., I couldn't get in right away). The first song I did hear was "She Sends Me," complete with extended talkbox solo. Why is it that every time I hear a talkbox I think of that Frampton guy coming alive? Even though guitarist Chuck Garvey uses the thing very well, I always think "Do You Feel Like We Do." Pathetic, huh?
Not only does Garvey play the mouth tube thingy, he also plays a nasty slide guitar, as evident in much of the elongated solos throughout the night. Rob Derhak, though, is this band's ace in the hole: a lot of people can make pretty music on their guitars, but few can people can play wide-range bass guitar like Derhak. Whether he is commanding the proceedings with slap-happy brilliance or sitting in the pocket while Garvey and fellow guitarist Al Schnier get their ya-yas out, Derhak looks as though all the intricacies are just another day in the park.
"Nebraska" is proof of another of Moe's strengths: harmonies. Garvey, Schnier and main singer Derhak really know their way around fifths, sevenths and harmony in general. This great tune also boasted an amazing Garcia-esque solo by Schnier.
I would be remiss if I didn't point out the humour that exists at a Moe show. At one point tonight, they were having a screaming duel which Schnier won by singing some lines from Rush's "Temples of Syrinx." You get the feeling that they are telling a lot of musical jokes, as well. During the bridge of "Buster," they went into a stanza that was so pretentiously King Crimson that you just had to laugh out loud. They also kept referring to our fair city as 'Hotcouver.' "Hotcouver -- I'm going to have to say that once a day, now," joked Garvey.
When I left after approximately two hours -- so I could catch the last Skytrain home -- they were still going strong without a break. Pick up Moe's No Day album, or grab a live tape from your closest connected hippie, and turn your living room into Hotcouver. As Homer J. Simpson once muttered insanely, "Moe. Moe. Moe. Moe."
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