The parking lot in front of the Culture Room was full by the time 9 p.m. rolled around, but cars kept pulling in and cruising through hoping to find an empty slot. Some folks stood around their cars smoking, killing their beers and listening to Phish before getting in the long line for entry to the moe. show.
moe. came to the Culture Room to throw down two 90-minute sets. Word to local moe.rons spread and the concert sold out, as moe. shows frequently do. That prompted some people who showed up with intentions to pay at the door to take some creative measure. With a look at the wristband, two guys went to Target across the street and bought construction paper and a magic marker.
They actually got in with their fake bands.
The first set started around 8:30 p.m. Inside, the Culture room was more crowded than I had ever seen it. It was a major effort to move around, but those there were content with a little spot to jam out in.
The first set featured jams like “Captain America,” into “Akimbo.” moe. ended their first set at about 10:10 p.m. with a singeing rendition of “Puebla,” into “Brent Black.”
During the half hour set break, some folks went outside for a beer and a breather, but a majority stayed inside to keep the spots they had to work to get.
At about 10:40 p.m., moe. stepped back onto the stage to wave of screaming applause. The second set kicked off immediately with “Suck a Lemon,” into “Waiting for the Punchline.”
This was the part where percussionist Jim Lockland really stood out. Not that he wasn’t performing unbelievably well before, but this second set featured him really tearing the hell out of his xylophone set during an extended “Plane Crash,” jam.
Guitarists Al Schnier and Chuck Garvey ripped lines up and down and around the jam sections, Garvey even balanced on the edge of the stage to tear lines face to face with Schnier.
The performance stood out as one of the best concerts I’d been to since Bear Creek ’10 in November. (moe. was also at Bear Creek. Coincidence? I think not.)
When the band finished their second set with “St. Augustine,” they disappeared backstage. The audience was far from ready to go home, though, and they screamed and hollered for more. The sound of hundreds of voices shouting in unison pierced the ears for at least five minutes before moe. returned to the stage for an encore, which consisted of great versions of Crab Eyes and Godzilla.
After the encore, the place emptied slowly but surely. moe.’s merch site by the outdoor bar, scooping up their moe. swag and usb drives containing soundboard recordings of the show for $20. The concert was over, but heads still hung out in the parking lot, drinking, smoking and hooping, before going home.
It was more than a concert, as moe.rons will tell you. It was something much more than that. You can’t really put a word to it. You just had to be there.