Words & Photos by Steve Melone

Jam enthusiasts, moe. took to the stage at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair less then ten minutes after show-time to a hungry crowd of listeners. No opener needed, there was a lot of music to be played.

The crowd’s vibe was mellow as expected, though the band had their engines revving throughout the show. Songs had a religious feeling to them as the crowd reacted in excited sing-along’s with hands raised and bodies moving.

The show opened with “Spaz Medicine,” convincing the crowd to convulse slightly to the music they were projecting out. Bassist, Rob Derhak, wore a grin much of the night and just seemed happy to be at the show; it was as though he was just gliding around as he played. Guitarist, Al Schnier and Rob would trade singing off and on throughout the show.

Both would sporadically shoot glances at each other back and forth manifesting some kind of unspoken language that let each other know some musical shit was about to go down on stage. “One! Two! Three! Four!” Boom! A culminating sonic shock of energy bringing the band together in a jam. It’s what these shows are all about, collaborating and coming together in moments of uncertainty when the musicians feel like it. There’s something palpable about those moments.

Al Schnier and Chuck Garvey seemed ready to solo at a moments notice. Drummer, Vinnie Amico and percussionist, Jim Loughlin would unleash their swarms of thunder when the feeling came about. Loughlin had several moments of xylophone mayhem that made you ask yourself, “Have I ever seen a xylophone solo before?” Now you have. moe. played songs, “Mexico,” “Darkness,” and “Seat of My Pants,” before calling for a short intermission.

When they returned for a second set lasting two hours, Rob explained, “This is a pretty new one so give us some slack. Vinnie likes to put a lot of songs on the set list we don’t know how to play.” The band performed, “Y.O.Y.,” and “Paper Dragon,” among many others as they neared the show’s end. Before calling it a night band mates surprised guitarist, Chuck Garvey with a cake on his birthday. The audience sang “Happy Birthday” and Garvey blew out his candles and ate a piece of cake. He thanked the crowd, “It’s my birthday wish no one here gets the crabs!”

After the band left the stage, the crowd demanded one more song. Al Schnier returned soon after though, and he went on to read the most recent fan mail in comedic fashion before brithday boy, Chuck led the band in the last song of night. It was a beautiful cover of Pink Floyd’s “Time.” The song ended early as Garvey uttered the last lyrics of the night, “Thought I’d something more to say.” How poetic.

The band insisted on Chuck to have something more to say as the show ended on his birthday. He replied, “I had a giant head and I think I was eleven pounds. My mother hated me.” He continued, saying he would upload pictures, “That’s what Instagram is for, shaming yourself.” The band began to make its way off stage when Rob consoled the crowd, “We’re gonna get Chuck some hookers and blow, it’ll be a great birthday!”

Check out moe. while they’re on tour now through August!


TheWaster.com | NJ