March 5, 2007
It’s been a long time since moe. has been to Memphis – nearly four years, to be exact. So, the city was abuzz when they announced they’d be making a stop, albeit a brief one, in town between concerts in Mobile and Knoxville.
The aisles of SpinStreet Records, a music store near the University of Memphis, was packed shoulder to shoulder nearly an hour before show time. Some in the crowd hadn’t seen the band since they were in town last in 2003 (9/26, to be exact), behind then recent release Wormwood.
This time through the band took the stage completely acoustic, touring in support of The Conch, and kicked off the show with "Tailspin."
The bulk of the show was comprised of "new" tracks off of The Conch, not surprising given the main goal of any in-store appearance (aside from kicking musical ass) is to promote a new record. "Brittle End" was colored by tasteful, delicate drum work from Vinnie Amico, while guitarists Chuck Garvey and Al Schnier weaved in, out, and around each other. After the song bassist Rob Derhak called for a little roadie help, and as his mic stand was raised took one on the chin, at which point Garvey joked how the next song was called "Fat Lip."
"Where Does The Time Go" was phenomenal. The band settled into a nice groove halfway through, and chugged along like an acoustic freight train, eventually finding their way back to the melodic chorus. It’s not easy to pull off the sort of tension and release that make shows great, and it’s especially hard when you’re not playing electrically. moe. certainly managed to do it, which says a lot.
Garvey scatted along to his intricate lead work on "Blue Jeans Pizza," which had Schnier on mandolin.
They went a little older school to close the show, with a great "Nebraska" followed by a killer "Spine of a Dog."
No matter the setting and no matter the format, the Memphis crowd hung on every note, which makes it even more perplexing to try to figure out why they didn’t play a whole show. There were several days between Mobile and Knoxville, and the venues that they could have played weren’t booked.
Perhaps moe. realized they’d been neglecting their Memphis fans, because in-stores generally run a half hour, and they graced the crowd with over an hour of great, great music. moe. is clearly a band on top of their game.
Hopefully next time they come to Memphis, it’ll be their whole game, and not just a taste.
Tailspin, Brittle End, Where Does The Time Go, She, Blue Jeans Pizza, The Road, Nebraska, Spine of a Dog
photos by Josh Mintz / photosbyjosh.com