Photo by Chris Paul
A slight drizzle fell upon the costume brigade seeking entrance into Albany’s Washington Avenue Armory on Halloween. Though mysterious and uninviting in appearance from the street, patrons were surprised to find the venue was actually a gymnasium routinely used by the city. With the stage bordering the far end of the basketball court, hordes piled onto the wooden floor and into cozy seats surrounding the rambunctious epicenter.
It was surreal to sit and simply observe the colorful and vibrant energy of the unfolding scene. The band was in their home state, in front of friends and family alike. For New Yorkers (such as myself) who are slaves to the groove, moe. has always been an integral and perpetual part of our lives. Underneath the live spectacle and raw talent, the beauty of their music lies in the camaraderie found in the audience. The melodies bring us together and are the ties that bind- through thick and thin, for good or ill.
It is that exact camaraderie between those onstage and in the crowd which led to the group allowing fans to pick the set list for the Democracy Rules Halloween show. Toying through covers by Blue Oyster Cult (“Godzilla”) and Miley Cyrus (“We Got the Party”), the energy rose during “You Can Call Me Al,” which eventually morphed into “George.” Still it was the set ending 22-minute version of Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” that really mesmerized the senses. The floor swiftly grew sticky from drinks dropped by eager hands swaying to the overwhelming cacophony spilling from the stage.
As the second set opened with the familiar notes of Phish’s “Stash,” dozens ran from the bathrooms or tossed their half-smoked cigarettes as they scurried back inside. Then, following the group’s open-ended original, “Meat,” a roar ricocheted throughout the room following the opening lines of “Eyes of the World,” which eventually saw the band returned to finish “Echoes.” While this might have felt like a culmination, moe. certainly didn’t agree, in delivering a 35+ minute sequence that soared from “Rebubula” into “Dark Star” and then back into “Rebubula” to bring the set to a climactic close.
The encore saw Chuck Garvey sing lead on Tenacious D’s “Fuck Her Gently.” This comedic offering was followed by a poignant “Don’t Fuck With Flo.” Then, before the audience could catch itself in the freefall, “Crab Eyes,” followed until all that remained was a relentless ringing noise lasting the entire way out of the Armory and into the mischievous night.
moe., Washington Avenue Armory / Albany, New York, 10/31
Set 1: The Ghost Of Ralph’s Mom, Godzilla, Farmer Ben, You Can Call Me Al, We Got the Party, George, Echoes
Set 2: Stash, Meat, Eyes Of the World > Echoes, Rebubula > Dark Star > Rebubula
Encore: Fuck Her Gently, Don’t Fuck With Flo, Crab Eyes