By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
For the past twelve years, five guys from upstate New York have been living their dream to bring the wide-ranging resplendence of psychedelic rock to the heads of America. Before critics slapped the scene with the meaningless label "jam bands," moe. was rocking sold-out crowds and shaping the organic experience that is the group's live show. Dipping into such diverse styles as bluegrass, fusion and minimalist synthetic rock, moe. gigs become unpredictable performance-art experiences influenced as much by the audience as by the band members themselves.
Omnipresent on the jam-band circuit, moe. is touring in support of its February 4 release Wormwood. In addition to piquing the curiosity of the absinthe-minded, the album deftly refines live moe. material with studio finesse and is a welcome step away from the pop tendencies of the band's last studio release. Genre lore pegs moe., not the Dead or Phish, as the originator of the term "jam band," which makes sense, in a way, when you hear these tunes stretched like rubber bands, this music pushed to its breaking point only to be snapped back in the audience's face. It's hard not to feel as if you've been hit with something after a moe. show.
If the mere thought of being downwind in a room full of noodling neohippies is enough to keep you away, have faith. The moe. crowd has been known to noodle, but the strength of the music keeps the scene al dente.