moe. Closes Out 20 Years at The Tabernacle

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moe.
The Tabernacle
Atlanta, Georgia
March 12 – 13, 2010

The Tabernacle, the 100-year-old Baptist church-turned-venue, is unique piece of Atlanta culture. moe. has had a long term love affair with the eclectic mix of church, art and music, and this was solidified by their rock-solid performance in 2005 during the moe.volution run.

It isn’t a coincidence they decided to end their 20th Anniversary Winter Tour with a two-night stint at this venue. What was even more fortuitous for audience members was the fact they secured an opener for each night.


Friday

pgroove1.jpgOn this first night of the run, Atlanta was blessed with Perpetual Groove‘s maiden voyage on the Tabby’s stage. Perpetual Groove’s large fan base appeared en masse, while newcomers brought by the moe. crowd showed up early to catch a peak.

PGroove’s set flowed over the crowd as the lights cut through the already smoke-filled air. The ambiance created by Brock Butler’s smooth guitar riffs and melodic vocals were pleasing to the ear.

Keyboardist/backup vocalist John Hruby was having a ball particularly during "At the Screen," a song which he originally performed with former band, Guest, and one in which he takes the lead on vocals. The PGroove set featured what these guys do best – perform from their soul – and the "Reverend" Butler conveniently held "church," even more fitting than usual considering the setting.

The opening act gradually laid the foundation for what was sure to be a stellar night of music, and by the end of Perpetual Groove’s set, the floor of the Tabernacle was standing-room-only and felt like a packed house. One thing was obvious: this crowd was ready for more.

moe1.jpgAfter a short break and set change, the five guys from moe., dressed in their Sunday best as they have been throughout the tour, hit the stage. They started things off right with a little bit of "Meat"; leading the audience slowly slipping into the groove of their first set.

moe. effortlessly weaved their way through fan favorites: "New York City," "TGORM," and "Captain America." "Seat of My Pants" closed the first set, twisting and turning between whimsical and hard-core rocking again and again, giving the audience a full work out both mentally and physically.

After a short break, the boys from Buffalo came out of the gate with "Moth," and to the crowd’s delight, eventually meandered their way back into "Meat."

Shortly after midnight, the evening took a turn to the dark side when a tripped out "Akimbo" reared its head, and rolled its way over the dancing crowd and into the set-ending "Brent Black." This tune is never truly complete without the dynamic and ever versatile Jim Loughlin and Vinnie Amico lighting up the crowd with a rhythm section solo montage, followed by Rob Derhak soulfully breaking it down on bass guitar; both occurred.

All good things must come to an end and so it did; for this first night at least, with the upbeat and energetic "Threw It All Away." Though the band seemed like they could go on, curfew struck, sending the fans into the night ready and waiting ever so patiently for what would be in store for them on night two of moe. and friends at the Tabernacle.

Read on for night two{mospagebreak}   

Saturday

moe2.jpgWalking into the Tabernacle on Saturday night, it seemed the energy never left from the night before. The crowd was a rowdy one, with several people dressed as if it was already St. Patrick’s Day. Long-time moe.rons arrived for the night’s festivities, settling into key locations around the venue. As the floor filled up with smiling faces and nervous feet, Cornmeal took the crowd on a high-energy, fast-paced experience. Nervous feet made for dancing ones as the Chicago-based quintet made their debut on the Tabernacle stage.

Combining tight harmonies and blazing speed, Cornmeal barreled through their set with their blend of bluegrass and rock fusion. Allie Kral, fiddle player and vocalist, lit up the stage with her tremendous energy and proficiency. Their set-ending "Girl with Short Brown Hair" worked the crowd into a mighty frenzy and served as a stellar preparation of the stage for the main event.

Easing their way into the first set with "Big World," moe. primed the crowd for what would be a night of choice memories. By the time they reached "Nebraska" and "She Sends Me," the boys had hit their stride with some down-home, good-ole, moe. rock.

moe3.jpgAllie Kral took the stage to join in on "32 Things," and as the song progressed, the decibel levels grandly intensified as the sound built upon itself. "32 Things" is considered by some to be one of the best in moe.’s collection, and based on the crowd’s reaction, adding Kral to the mix only turned that into a truer statement. Her wild fiddle action and the intense pace of the song combined to create the opportunity to find oneself boogieing a nasty jig. At the close of the tune, Rob Derhak’s attempts to give Kral proper credit were drowned out by the cheers of the crowd, inducing the statement, "Holy shit! I can’t even talk, you guys are too loud."

Not every show is one for the daily listening repertoire, but this night most certainly made the cut mainly because of the wild antics of the second set including the crowd sing-a-long with "Time Again," leading Al Schnier to exclaim, "This is easily the loudest room that we play in, in the entire country. On the count of three everybody yell the word Big!" The crowd followed the direction of Mr. Schneir and exclaimed as he had commanded and as loud as they could. The vibration could literally be felt in the air.

Later in the evening, Jim Loughlin took to the front and center mic to sing with the quirky sounds and funky bass riffs of "Farmer Ben". However, the most unexpected turn of events was yet to come and it happened when Chuck Garvey and Schnier walked out alone with a guitar to croon a special love song, a cover of Tenacious D’s "Fuck Her Gently" and brought about a moment of hilarity as well as a chance to catch one’s breath.

moe. has transcended above and beyond and their style of play continues to impress moe.rons old and new alike. Bearing in mind what the members of moe. have impressively accomplished in the last 20 years, it was only natural for the crowd to depart the gig reminiscing about times of old and looking forward to the what is sure to be another 20 years of continued and progressive innovation in live music.

Click the thumbnail for shots from Friday’s show

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