moe. 02/26/2010

Club Nokia @ LA Live – Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos/Videos by Reverend Justito/

moe. 02/26/10 Club Nokia - Los Angeles, CA

Lucky 13: moe. live from downtown los angeles
It’s not often that I suffer from anxiety, but in the hours before my thirteenth moe. concert, I was struggling.  What should I eat?  Did that Russian bobsled really just tip over?  Would I get the fun Club Nokia, or would the foul oppressive camera hating venue who love to make my life a living hell?  Yet there was one question on my mind that easily managed to outweigh all others.  On the 10 year and 364 day anniversary of my first moe. concert, would I even have a good time?  The first eleven moe. shows I experienced ranged from decent to epic.  The last moe. show I saw back during the summer of 2006 was undoubtedly the final nail in the “Yeah, I’m over it” jamband/hippie coffin.  The show left such a bad taste in my mouth, I stopped listening to moe. all-together.  Over the past four months, concerts by Phish and STS9 have given my inner-hippie a much needed jumpstart.  With two free tickets waiting for me at Will-Call won via a giveaway (Side Note – really good people and a great site over there at jambase, please pay them a visit) I broke the posted speed limit cruising towards the downtown skyline, hoping the 5 idiots from Buffalo and I could reconnect after some much needed time apart.
Rob Derhak of moe. 02/26/10
The first good sign of the night was discovering that after 9pm on game nights (The Lakers and Clippers as well as the Kings who play hockey across the street) there is a flat parking rate of $10.  This is much cheaper than the $25 it costs to park at 8:57pm.  I rolled the dice and kept my camera exposed as I walked up to the ominous metal detectors and well dressed security personnel.  Glad I did, they hardly even checked me as I walked into the building.  Unfortunately, it was too late to obtain a pretty pink wristband to get access to the front section of floor, so instead I found a great little pocket adjacent to the tapers section in the second tier.  Around 9:40 pm, the band (dressed in well pressed suits much to my shock and eventual delight) hit the stage and opened the first set with the jazzy “Skrunk” which I was unfamiliar with.  Thankfully it segued nicely into “Lazarus” which proved a solid way to warm up for the night.
With it’s duel lead guitar into, “Brent Black” warned the crowd that it was time to get serious.  With co-guitarists Chuck Garvey and Al Schnier harmonizing perfectly on the various jazzy-progy riffs, the crowd really began to fall under the spell that moe. is capable of casting.  Just shy of four minutes into the song, harmony was out the door as Garvey broke out and took the lead.  He gave us a slow building voyage up his fret board that built, broke and evolved into a hippie drum jam.  With Garvey, Schnier, bassist Rob Derhak making their exit from the stage, drummer Vinni Amico and drummer/jack of all trades Jim Loughlin beat it out for a few minutes.  What is it with hippies and drums anyways?  I don’t claim to understand it, I just roll with it, because there is nothing more exciting then a drum solo.

Once the band did return (thankfully the drum jam was not too long) they picked right up with the song “Water”.  Now they had me, as I always enjoy hearing this one in a live setting.  I love songs where Derhak gets to showcase his talent, and “Water” allows him to do so without being obvious.  Just below Garvey & Schnier‘s heavily distorted chorus, Derhak‘s morerockthanfunk low end gives their tones a warm foundation to lie upon.  Unknown to me at the time, the song segued into an equally rocking instrumental called “Hector’s Pillow”.  I must admit, I feel bad for Hector; his pillow is heavy and hard. With no kind of red-light to stop the band, they drove right into one of their biggest jam vehicles – “Timmy Tucker”.  In addition to giving the crowd the opportunity to scream the word puss in unison, the lengthy song reminded me of nights I would watch the band at The Fillmore in San Francisco, laughing as Chuck kicked Al’s ass on guitar solos every single time.  Chuck went first and took Timmy’s head and ripped it off in Mortal Kombat fashion.  When Al got his turn to show his chops, his phaser/flanger-soaked intro felt like terrible foreplay.  To his credit, after a long and, at times, painful buildup, Al did rip it up in fulldistortionballstothewallsIhaveaspineandhereitiswambamthankyouma‘am solo to end a triumphant first set.

The good luck continued during set break.  A couple who had no desire to go to the main floor gave us their wrist bands.  We moved down just in time to catch what was my personal highlight of the night.  It took 13 shows to get my first “Don’t Fuck With Flo”, but on a cold Friday night in downtown Los Angeles, it finally happened.  Led by Derhak, the tale of double murder opens with a swinging laid back lounge verse that evolves and erupts into a fierce chorus of wicked distortion and bloody screams.  The music flowed right into a song that was just coming into rotation as I was checking out called “Tailspin”.  I don’t hate Al, but if I had to save the front line of moe. (Al/Chuck/Rob) from a burning building, chances are I would bring him to safety last.  However, during Tailspin, it really stood out to me how much Al is influenced by the likes of Camper Van Beethoven, The Meat Puppets and Hüsker Dü, as these are bands I have discovered since leaving moe. behind.  After finishing up “Brent Black” the band played three songs I did not recognize.  I feel as if I am ripping Al which is not my point as I enjoy many of his songs and have nothing but respect for him.  It’s just sometimes his flavor is not what my tastebuds need, which is why I decided to leave the loud, rowdy floor and take the experience in from the very back of the venue.  I am very thankful that I did, as I quickly became entertained by a couple participating in some very heavy petting while dancing just past midnight on Saturday morning.  Why watch Al Y’alt rock it up when you can watch a gypsy have her busty milk bells felt up by the dirtiest Ronnie James Dio doppelganger you have ever seen.
When Hippies & Gypsies Dryhump 02/26/10

After the novelty of the hippie humpfest wore off, I headed back towards the main floor during the second set closing “32 Things”.  With the crowd thinning out rapidly, I believe it was Rob who mocked those left over the unenthusiastic “encore break” applause before launching into a two song encore with his fellow bandmates.  The first song “Understand” may be sung by Al, but Chuck kicked all kinds of ass on the solo in this one.  The show closed with a cover of the Blue Oyster Cult classic “Godzilla”.  The band played it so loud that it caused the tin attached to the top of the club’s ceiling to buzz.  As the band began their exit, Rob approached the mic one final time and dedicated the night to their friend/former Wetlands Preserve employee Dave Nolan who had passed a day earlier.  When he finished speaking, I turned and began my slow exit from the club.  Despite an Al-dominate second set, the entire show was a blast.  The venue had such good energy, everyone (band included) seemed to be having the time of their lives.  From the new songs to the classics, moe. sounds better than ever; so much so I may have to go see them for a fourteenth time.

Set I: Skrunk > Lazarus, Brent Black > Drums
> Water > Hector’s Pillow >Timmy Tucker

Set II: Don’t
Fuck With Flo > Tailspin > Brent Black* >Zed Naught Z,
Wind It Up, Sticks and Stones > 32 Things

Encore: Understand, Godzilla

{* w/ Gil’s Theme}

A direct descendant of the outlaw Jesse James and star of a 1983 Kilpatricks Bread radio commercial, Reverend Justito has taken his gift of ADHD and put it to good use by creating one of a kind concert reviews. A bootlegger at heart, the man lives off Whiskey, Taco Bell and the love of San Francisco sports teams.
Website Pin Facebook Twitter Myspace Friendfeed Technorati Digg Google StumbleUpon Premium Responsive