Editor’s Note: Here LynnGuppy follows up A Survival Guide to moe.down with her look at this years event…
Utica, NY. By the time I got to the Red Roof Inn on Thursday night, my running crew were already 1/2 through a plastic bottle of Canadian Mist Whiskey (& a 3 liter of Root Beer) and a few sixers of Guinness & Old Chub. Adding to the fun was Screaming Chicken, a noisy little fella first introduced to us in this (horribly shot) video a few days prior.
I’m not going to get into the reason he had it because it would probably offend some of you. So, let’s just start with— my buddy Hern had a Screaming Chicken (that he took from his mom) and it apparently NEEDED to run for Mayor of moe.ville. This would be el Herno’s 2nd run as a Mayoral Campaign Manager (the first being my unsuccessful, yet ultimately groundbreaking campaign in ’02). With Screaming Chicken, the main goal was to get him onstage and watch the band enjoy him… Winning the election would just be a bonus.
Regardless, it’s fair to say the sounds emanating from room 237 that night most definitely traumatized neighbors, but at least we had settled on a campaign strategy. WAAAAAAAH WAAAAAAAAAH!
8:00AM. Parking lot breakfast > Kwik-E-Mart for ice, coffee, and in the case of the “Wookie Paul Begala”, a florescent green “sour apple” squishy that would send him over the edge.
We were a caravan of 6 cars and arrived at the Gelston Castle grounds by 9AM, where they herded us into LOT 1. We were psyched about this cuz on the map, Lot 1 doesn’t look too far from the campsite, but if you were to look at a topographical map of the place, it’d be a totally different story. The strategy was to go claim some land on the first trip in and hopefully only have to do 3 total trips in/out. Once we started on the journey we realized the reality of our situation. 3 trips might kill us. Most of the hike in was uphill on really slippery gravel roads and (especially dragging equipment) it certainly felt a hell of a lot longer than 1/4 mile. Said map was already misleading. That map is a douchebag.
On our first walk in, I noticed some beautiful moe. Tibetan Prayer Flags flapping in the wind. It was very calming, but it was only making the haul slightly more tolerable.
The section of campground that had been labeled as “family camping” was practically full by 9:30AM. We were forced to walk towards the supposed “not so quiet side” which we were hoping to avoid altogether (and in the long run, that side may have actually ended up as “the quiet side” since no one wanted to walk that far). El Herno, hungover and having catalyzed his digestive system with squishy, refused to walk any further once we got to the main intersection near the RV lot. We tried to talk some festival-sense into him, but he was sweating whiskey sugar, threw his stuff down, and vanished like sasquatch.
We nestled ourselves as far into a buffered zone as possible. At least there was enough space for all of us to camp together. RV’s were already spilling out into the tent camping. The campground was just too small. Later in the day, the venue would mow.down (see what I did there?) more tall grass on-the-fly in order to create even more space for tents. I heard this new expansion and the farthest side of the camping area were kinda wet and swampy, but I never ventured that far down to check it out for myself. I was already sick of walking.
They ran some golf carts with flatbeds attached- the moe.down Express, but there weren’t nearly enough of them and there was absolutely no system to try and obtain one. No taxi stand, no nothing. This led to massive corruption via bribery. Kat, who is handicapped, spoke to Security and was able to obtain a cart after a short wait. Hern, on the other hand, waited for 3 hours to get his Marine Cooler in on one. The rest of us hoofed it.
Security was thorough, some more than others. One of the heavies was apparently going through people’s wallets. Fucking seriously? I’m curious if that type of search ever actually pays off at the end of a day? Can we see some numbers on this?
What had also immediately caught my attention in the campgrounds was the presence of shower trailers! Freakin’ fabulous! After our 3rd and final horrible trek in from the cars (at that point it was like 97 BAZILLION degrees and humid), we spent the wisest $10 of the weekend- taking the very first showers in the trailers. Changed my whole outlook on life. Reset me for the start of moe.down xi. YAY!
Heat and sleep deprivation threatened to get the better of me, but napping didn’t happen. The one time I felt myself drifting off into Happy Sleepyland, I heard the ever-growing WAAAAAAAH WAAAAAAAAH’s of Screaming Chicken, who was eventually perched at my window. Around this time, awesome visitors started stopping through, so no rest for the weary! It was great to start seeing all my random moe.ron friends in the same place, at the same time. That’s pretty much what it’s all aboot and it made me feel much better. So did the Advil, Gatorade, and edamame.
It became clear from our first walk into the concert area (at least, once we got to the top of THAT hill) why moe. chose this particular spot. We were standing on top of a ridge overlooking the entire Mohawk Valley. It was breathtaking.
Both the Main and “Buzz” stages were at the bottom of this gigantic hill, which would apparently require much climbing. Go figure. I tried to calculate out how many times total I would have to walk down/climb back and came to the conclusion these trips would need to be rationed each day. Which bands would earn my pain? I needed a sandwich to think this over and got a “loaded grilled cheese” from Dave’s Mini Donuts— melty Cheese, Bacon, & Tomato on Texas Toast (no 3rd layer of bread on the inside, cuz I’m not a fucking animal.). It was an inspiring combination and I was officially ready to rock! First impression of the vendors: too many burritos and where was John Street Graphics?
The sound at the top of the hill was brilliant and I enjoyed a chunk of Tortoise with my sammich, but from what I recall, they seemed to have ended early and that was disappointing. The Macpodz hit the Buzz stage and were totally rockin’. They really did a great job prepping the grounds for 3 days of fun.
My musical priority at moe.down is seeing all the moe. sets, so there are always a few bands that get lost in the shuffle, especially when the lineups are strong. Due to general exhaustion, I didn’t see as much music on Friday as originally intended. I actually skipped Nas and Damian Marley to rest up for moe. and prep for the impending WEATHER. Nasty looking chunks of Hurricane Earl were breaking off the main storm and racing our way. I fucking hate hurricanes that start with the letter “E”.
It was the beginning of the weekend and Security hadn’t given up yet, so we allowed for extra time to get into the concert site for moe. before making the first of many treks down that shiteously grand hill. Finally, moe. came out and just beat the shit out of us with music. Highlights from this first set were… pretty much the whole thing. Z0Z > Time Again (*love*) > Punchline was spectacular (and carthartic as always). They lost me a little bit with Blue Jeans Pizza > Captain America, but Puebla > George was fucking dark and EPIC. They twisted it up and took it someplace new. Absolute brilliance. moe. at their best— why you love moe.. To make it even more intense, the rain arrived- absolute shitstorms exploded over us- and the band, as they should- played harder!! The crowd threw on their rain layers and stayed put! WE WILL OBEY OUR MASTERS! Brent Black -> Akimbo just wrapped the evil into a big freakin’ bow. After the encore break they started right back in with Brent Black > Billy Goat which worked really well as a combo. I dig that I’m digging the new songs and will continue to pat myself on the back for it. Billy Goat was stuck in my head for the rest of the night.
Despite the rain, it wasn’t too cold out Friday night, so we definitely lucked out with that, but I still needed a little tequila to warm me back up before bed. Fucking awful floodlight in the campground. “That thing is death on death’s wheels” – Chris Fordice
Zed Naught Z >
Time Again ->
Waiting For The Punchline
Blue Jeans Pizza >
Captain America ->
Brent Black ->
Brent Black >
Download The Show! (thanks, Scott Bernstein!)