moe. Serves Up A Glorious Musical Sandwich In Portland Barn Burner [Watch]
moe.‘s barnstorming trip up the west coast stopped into Portland, OR last Friday, April 14th, for two sets of tunes that had the sold out Wonder Ballroom jamming the night away. It’s been a few years since moe. visited, outside of a quick radio promotion last year, and the people of the City Of Roses were lined up outside the venue for their return. The pent up need to see their favorite band had moe.rons buzzing in excitement over the jams to come. Adding to the excitement for the visit was the beloved Chris Robinson Brotherhood, who opened up the show and rocked the early arrivers.It didn’t take long for the band to deliver the first special moe.ment of the show, as the segue way from “Big World” into “Ricky Marten” was received with a rousing cheer as the floor dissolved into a full on dance party. The anthemic “Billy Goat” had fans belting out the battle cry chorus and head-banging to the aggressive jams. Closing out the set, the band delivered one of the stranger combinations of the West Coast run, following the classic “Spine Of A Dog” into “Buster” combination by playing into the much slower and down tempo “Cathedral.” While not something fans were ready for, it served as a perfect cool down to end the first musical stanza.Check out “Billy Goat” from the side of the stage in the video below:After a short break, moe. returned to the stage and unleashed a spacey, expansive take on the Al Schnier penned “Silver Sun.” The floating guitar notes descended into feedback howls while the rhythm provided the appropriate backdrops for each section. To anchor the second set, moe. served fans a 50 plus minute musical sandwich, with “The Road” serving as bookends to a wide spanning jam that took delirious fans all the way down to a dark, free wheeling version of “The Pit,” before visiting with one of the band’s most beloved characters, “Timmy Tucker.” Percussionist Jim Loughlin displayed his continuing evolution in the band, his intensive xylophone and vibraphone runs giving the music a bouncy, jazz-y dimension.Check out “Silver Sun” from the side of the stage below:The aforementioned Schnier, fellow guitarist Chuck Garvey and bassist Rob Derhak were demonstrably enjoying the evening. None of their amazing work would have possible without the nuclear clock precision of drummer Vinnie Amico, who, while shunning the spotlight, proves himself to be the most important person onstage with an unassuming grace that is always about doing the job for the job’s sake.Closing out the second set with the crowd favorite sing-a-long “Wind It Up” was a smart move on the band’s part, as it provided a vigorous, rallying point for the crowd to get behind. The two song encore of “Stranger Than Fiction” and “Downward Facing Dog” gave the capacity crowd a last chance to build and release through the massive waves of sonic force that moe. was laying down, and shake the floor once more. As the last notes rang out and the crowd begged for more to no avail, it was clear to everyone that the band should visit this corner of the country far more often.Setlist: moe. at the Wonder Ballroom, Portland, OR – 4/15/16Set I: Big World > Ricky Marten > Billy Goat, Do Or Die, Spine Of A Dog > Buster> CathedralSet II: Silver Sun, The Road> Tubing The River Styx> The Pit> Timmy Tucker > The Road, Wind It UpEnc: Stranger Than Fiction, Downward Facing DogThe Chris Robinson Brotherhood started the night off right with a well received set of high energy southern blues-rock. Robinson and guitarist Neal Casal brought the guitar drawl out in a rocking manner, evoking but not aping past masters with energy and aplomb. Though the former Black Crowes frontman says that band is gone for good, the good will he created with that band has surely not faded, as “Hard To Handle” got long time fans up in arms and spirits from the very first note. “Narcissus Soaking Wet” showed a more rigid structure that worked well against the looser material that preceded it, and the fiery closer “Shore Power” gave the audience a satisfying finale to the first musical salvo fired from the stage that night.