moe. just might have been sending smoke signals during their smoking set at Ft.Lauderdale’s Culture Room on night two of their four-show Florida run last night. The performance followed a blast-from-the-past Thursday show in Orlando that saw the band get down and dirty with their setlist choices and jams throughout two long, winding chunks of tunes.
A show opening, fully rocking take on “Recreational Chemistry” set the stage for an altered state-of-mind-based evening of advocacy for freedom of choice and freedom of jams. With “Rec Chem” in full, wild swing, the band swung out and hung out in the “ATL” for an interesting turn before transitioning back into a much-appreciated revisitation of “Reactional Chemistry”. From there, things got darker still with a thick, almost syrupy “Opium” that had old-school fans smiling and self-proclaimed first timers watching in amazement at just how heavy moe. can get. The ground literally shook under the weight of the bass lines Rob Derhak was laying down.
After a palate-cleansing, upbeat take on the new Al Schnier tune “What Can I Say”, the overall focus on altered consciousness returned with a pair of drinking songs. Chuck Garvey showed off some serious glass-neck slide technique and solid vocal work the always-pleasing spaghetti western ode “Shoot First” and the legendary tale of Schnier’s 21st birthday trip to “Mexico” to round out set one.
After a short setbreak, the band came back and told the “Same Old Story” which, if you think about how they mix up their setlists, is something they almost never do. The psychedelic one-two punch of “Rise” into “Silver Sun” saw some amazing guitar work from Garvey and Schnier, with the “Silver Sun” guitar passages sounding as Pink Floyd-esque as ever thanks in no small part to the range and deftness of drummer Vinnie Amico, who handles both mellow jams and death metal onslaughts with the same skill and grace. Jim Loughlin, multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire, played everything from an acoustic guitar to a washboard to a few stellar turns on the vibraphone to lay down funky beats in all the nooks and crannies.
To close out the second set, the band went all in with a non-stop segment that moved through a bouncy “Hi and Lo” and a deceptively still “Water” that erupted with energy before returning to a still place and, eventually, washing into a big grins take on fan-favorite “Hector’s Pillow”. Sadly, all good things must come to an end—but when moe. ends something, they like to end it big. In last night’s case, they pulled out a “Plane Crash” which was so heavy you have to assume there were no survivors. After joking with the crowd before the encore began, Derhak gamely attempted his best Robert Plant imitation for Led Zeppelin‘s “The Immigrant Song”—though, in fairness, no one will ever be able to match Plant’s original falsetto battle cry. While not able to hit as high a benchmark as they have previously moe. certainly pleased the audience at hand with their take on the classic track, and that is all that truly matters.
As the shell-shocked fans started to file out of the show, several of them were noting a possible psychotropic connection between the tunes in the first set and wondering about how and who puts the setlists together. It’s a fun tradition the band use, and we here at Live For Live Music actually asked them to explain it to us before. Here’s the video of their thoughts on the process:
How moe. Creates Their Setlists:
Special thanks to taper Marcus B for turning around the recording fast enough to be able to include it with this review so you can hear the magic for yourselves:
moe. – 11/30/18 – Full Audio
Setlist: moe. | The Culture Room | Ft. Lauderdale, FL | 11/30/18
Set One: Rereational Chemistry >ATL >Rereational Chemistry, Opium, What Can I Say, Shoot First, Mexico
Set 2: Same Old Story, Rise > Silver Sun, Hi and Lo > Water > Hector’s Pillow > Plane Crash
Encore: Immigrant Song*
*Led Zeppelin cover