moe.down celebrated its 10th anniversary this past weekend at Turin, NY’s Snowridge Ski Area. The festival has hosted 150 bands since its inception in 2000, ranging from jamband titans like Galactic, the Disco Biscuits, Page McConnell and Mike Gordon to stars like Perry Farrell, the Flaming Lips, Meat Puppets and Levon Helm. This year’s lineup was similarly eclectic: Prog-jammers Umphrey’s McGee, indie-roots act Cake, rap icons Method Man and Redman, bluegrass star Sam Bush, funk ensemble The New Mastersounds and rising jam-rockers the Heavy Pets. The festival also featured return appearances by singer/songwriter Ani DiFranco and longtime moe. collaborators the Ominous Seapods, neither of whom has appeared at moe.down since its inaugural year.
moe. played six sets of its own over the course of the three-day festival. During its opening set, moe. invited out keyboardist Kirk Juhas for “Spine Of A Dog,” “Waiting On The Punchline,” “Four” and “Buster.” Juhas , who was at the festival to perform with the Al Schnier-produced roots band Okemah, toured with moe. in 2000 and appeared at the first moe.down with freebeerandchicken.
The band played three sets on Saturday: one in the afternoon and two at night. The band’s afternoon set opened with Schnier solo on acoustic guitar, before the members of moe. individually took the stage for a freeform jam. The annual moe.down kids parade then made its way onstage as group busted into “Mexico.” The kids remained onstage as Schnier led the children through the song. Later on, Sam Bush took the stage to play a variety of stringed instruments on “Tambourine” and “32 Things.”
moe.’s drummers Vinnie Amico and Jim Loughlin started off the group’s Saturday evening set, before the rest of the band trickled onstage. Later in the set, Bush returned for a jam during “Meat.” Likewise, the band’s third set opened with a solo spot from bassist Rob Derhak and gradually built to the entire band. Lynch guitarist Suke Cerulo also helped the band close its set with “Recreational Chemistry.”
Finally, on Sunday moe. closed its festival with a guest-heavy, two-set performance. Guitarist Chuck Garvey opened the show by himself and brought out his bandmates one by one until the entire group played “Shoot First” and the old moe. favorite “Bearsong.” Near the end of its set, moe. brought out Umphrey’s McGee’s Brendan Bayliss, Jake Cinninger and Andy Farag for a rocking take on “She.” Derhak also used the set to debut the new original “Borderline.” moe.’s final set stretched until midnight and featured Nate Wilson on such songs as “Sensory Depredation Bank,” “Happy Hour Hero,” “Not Coming Down,” “Wormwood,” “St. Augustine,” “The Road” and a show-closing “Rebubula.” The members of moe. also backed Ani DiFranco for two songs during her set.
As rumors of a new album swirled, a reunited Ominous Seapods offered a spirited set featuring “Keep In Mind,” “Cary Suite,” “Final Destination,” “Waiting 4 Da Bomb,” “John Henry’s Hammer,” “Countin’ Time,” “Pull From Adirondack Blue,” “Michael Murphy (Part 3),” “Lust for Life” and “Leaving the Monopole.” The group will likely play a few additional shows in the coming months.