Review and Photos: moe.’s snoe.down Festival 2013

snoe.down @ Killington and Rutland, Vermont: March 21 – 24

Photos and Words: Paul Citone

Festival season is upon us as Upstate New York natives moe. rocked out Killington and Rutland, Vermont last weekend at snoe.down 2013, their annual winter music and sports festival. Hosts moe. performed at Killington’s Bear Mountain on Saturday afternoon, while playing the Spartan Arena in Rutland on Friday and Saturday nights. An acoustic VIP brunch at the Wobbly Barn in Killington was the headlining act’s final performance of the weekend. A slew of other artists were on the snoe.down bill as well including HT faves Dumpstaphunk, Strangefolk and Marco Benevento.

[All Photos by Paul Citone]

Attendees had the chance to take part in various activities surrounding the festival, including a snoe.down special Ski/Ride program offered to guests. Whether you like to ski, snowboard, tube or just listen to the music in one of the cozy lodges, snoe.down had endless options.

Vermont native Mark Pederson, kicked off the festival at the intimate Wobbly Barn on Thursday night. Modern piano man Marco Benevento followed. The Wobbly Barn is a small barn-turned-restaurant with hardwood floors, an intimate stage and three bars. Benevento opened up with This is How it Goes, a track off his newest album, TigerFace and treated the audience to a mix of material from throughout his career.

Friday was the first full day of the festival, and the weather was cold but beautiful. Skiers and snowboarders were out in full force and many of them had no idea that a music festival was taking place. I spoke with many people who were inquiring who was playing, where they were playing and they decided to stay to enjoy the music and vibe.

Floodwood was up first at the noon time slot in the Snoe.Shed Lodge. Floodwood is a moe.  side project which includes the band’s Al Schnier on guitar and Vinnie Amico on drums. The rest of the band consists of Zachary Fleitz on bass, Nick Piccininni on fiddle and banjo and Jason Barady of Wooden Spoon on the mandolin. It was a great start of music for the day. They played some cool originals and also a jamgrass version of moe.’s Waiting For The Punchline to close the set.

As bands were playing at different lodges, I drove down to the K1 Lodge to check out Tauk, a New York City band with a distinct blend of jazz, funk and rock. Tauk was formed by four friends in high school, who continued to play gigs throughout their college years. After graduating, the band hit the road in 2010, and they haven’t looked back. Their latest EP is entirely instrumental and they will continue this style with the release of new full-length album next month. The band played tunes from their Pull Factors album, opening with the catchy Home to Me. They played their newest single Dead Signal, which is a total hard rock jam with a funky bass line. Tauk also tossed out an excellent rendition of a Beatles cover which is not easy to pull off as I Want You (She’s So Heavy) got my attention. Instrumental music is such a great way to let the listener interpret the story of the song for themselves. This band is fresh in the music scene, but has already been on some major bills. Look for them at Summer Camp 2013.

Jimkata kicked off the second afternoon set in the Snoe.shed Lodge. The band played in the upstairs portion of the venue with a large window behind them, allowing a view of the mountain and the skiers. The band is a lyric oriented electro-rock group with lots of bass, electric beats and furious drums. They opened with Night Shade, a song from their latest release.The energy was intense. As the band played faster, the crowd screamed and danced along. Jimkata played a great set. The music ended around 5PM, with a short break before the evening events were scheduled to start at the Spartan Arena in Rutland – about a 20 minute drive away.

New Orleans funk rockers Dumpstaphunk opened the evening show at the spacious Spartan Arena. This band never disappoints. They have a relatively new drummer, rocker chick Nikki Glaspie, who was previously a member of Beyonce’s all-female touring band.The man behind the organ, Ivan Neville, runs the show. His skills amazed as his fingers glided effortlessly across the keys. Ivan later sat in with moe. for Happy Hour Hero and a cover of The Meters’ Cissy Strut.

When it was time for moe. to take the stage the crowd went rip roaring nuts. This was our first performance from the headliners of the weekend, so the anticipation was exciting. The band came out in their usual non-showboat way and just started playing. They began with Captain America, followed by an amazing rendition of Recreational Chemistry. Al greeted the crowd with a “Welcome to Snoe.down” and went into the catchy Bring It Back Home. Whenever they play this song near their native New York, it’s an extra special treat as you can feel the meaning of the lyrics. The show had its usual moe. energy with upbeat solos and the band on key. Opium was particularly impressive thanks to its slow bass lead in and powerful riffs. The show ended with a powerhouse take on St. Augustine.

Saturday brought us four inches of new snow on Bear Mountain, where moe. was set to play on the outdoor stage. Eastbound Jesus, from Albany, began the day on the main stage before moe. The band dubs themselves “Americana Bluegrass” and “northern rock.” Check them out, as their mix of banjo, guitar and keyboard is unique. I definitely heard some southern rock influences in their music as well. As this band grows musically, I’m sure we will see much more of them in the future.

When moe. took the stage promptly at 1:45, the crowd was ready and packed with festival attendees and skiers waiting to see what this free show was all about. In a true representation of what Snoe.down is, mother nature started pouring snow on the crowd, adding to the vibe. The band started with Stranger Than Fiction as the white came trickling down. Rob commented about the cold saying, “This is absurd!” Al corrected him by saying ,“Not absurd but awesome.” The last two tunes were the always fun Okayalright and show closer Spine of a Dog. By the end of the set there was a blanket of crisp new snow on the ground.

The second and final night at the Spartan Arena commenced with a set from the recently reunited original lineup of Strangefolk. They are from the Burlington area and have played with moe. several times in the past both with and without Reid Genauer. Strangefolk started things off with a clean version of Elixer. The group’s history with moe. was apparent when Genauer and Jon Trafton were brought onstage during moe.’s first set that night for a beautiful 13 minute jammed-out version of The Band’s Up on Cripple Creek and moe. original Mexico. The Spartan arena staff were very friendly and accommodating, as this whole festival is very well organized.

At 9PM, moe. took the stage and wasted no time jamming into the first tune. Right out of the gate, we got 32 Things. It was the start of a slew of great tunes that night. Closing out set one with the aforementioned Strangefolk sit in, set two began with fan favorite Buster. We got tons of high energy jams – in particular a blazing Brent Black > Mar De-Ma > Brent Black > Meat > Brent Black segment. Closing out the night was the powerful Godzilla, which ended the show on a high note.

Sunday featured the final event of the weekend – the VIP acoustic brunch with moe. at the Wobbly Barn for VIP ticket holders. If you ever come to snoe.down, do not miss this one. The Wobbly Barn is about ½ mile from the base of Killington. The barn opened its doors in December 1962 and was the first nightlife in the area. The barn itself is constructed with various barn pieces collected from ten old barns across New England, hence the wobbly meaning.

Hungover attendees were in the venue ready for a good home cooked meal and a Bloody Mary before moe. took the tiny stage at noon. What could be a better close to a festival than this? It was a Bloody Mary morning for sure. This venue is a hidden gem; if you haven’t been there, check it out. That said, we got a few treats for moe. at their final set of the festival. The band did an awesome rendition of Good Guys and Bad Guys by Camper Van Beethoven, Vinnie Amico handled vocals for a cover of Casey Jones and we were treated to Jim’s evil circus jam Chromatic Nightmare.

After Casey Jones the band was deciding what to play next when some fans screamed “Jim’s Turn”. After a brief discussion, Jim took the mic for the fun rap-driven tune Farmer Ben – a song you’d never expect to see performed acoustic. moe. closed out the show with Gone.

Snoe.down 2013 proved to be everything but your usual festival. If you haven’t been, make this one a priority. Cheers to the moe.rons and see you all at the next show.

Setlists…

3/22 @ Spartan Arena

Set One: Captain America -> Recreational Chemistry, Bring it Back Home, Happy Hour Hero*, Cissy Strut*, Bullet >(nh) Kyle’s Song

Set Two: Billy Goat > Tailspin, Opium, Faker > Tubing The River Styx > The Pit > Wind It Up
Encore: St. Augustine
* w/ Ivan Neville on keys

3/23 @ Bear Mountain

Set: Stranger Than Fiction >(nh) Spaz Medicine, Blue Jeans Pizza > Waiting For The Punchline, Jazz Wank > Akimbo, Okayalright

Encore: Spine Of A Dog

3/23 @ Spartan Arena

Set One: 32 Things, Shoot First, Haze, Y.O.Y., Up On Cripple Creek*, Mexico*,

Set Two: Buster > Runaway Overlude, Where Does The Time Go, Puebla > Brent Black > Mar De-Ma > Brent Black > Meat > Brent Black

Encore: That Country Tune, Godzilla

*With Reid and Jon from Strangefolk

3/24 @ Wobbly Barn

Acoustic Set: Bones of Lazarus, Smoke, Chromatic Nightmare, Time Again, Good Guys and Bad Guys, Nebraska, All Roads Lead to Home, MacIntyre Range >Tambourine > Deep This Time, Casey Jones, Farmer Ben, Willin’, Gone

Photos… 

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3 Responses

  1. You should have seen Primate Fiasco at the K1 Lodge instead, they killed it! So sad to not read any mention of them.

  2. Nice recap and gorgeous photos. The free show at Bear Mountain on Saturday was cut short due to some technical issues with Al’s guitar … Bummer. Would have loved to hear them finish strong with Spine of the Dog. Good set, great skiing, awesome day all around! Def going all in for VIP next year.

  3. It’s sad to see no mention of the Mallett Brothers band, who played on Sunday, also. But it didn’t seem like anyone knew about their set. They were amazing! I checked them out instead of the moe brunch and was not disappointed. Strangefolk was good too and Eastbound Jesus rocked at Bear Mountain.
    Granted, it was moe’s festival, and they are incredible, it’s just a shame to see so many other talented bands getting pushed to the wayside in the reviews and by moe fans in general. In my opinion, music festivals should be about ALL of the music. And at snoedown that didn’t seem to be the case. The bands were scattered throughout the area, many of the sets ran simultaneous with each other, making it impossible to see all of the music.

    I give this festival a 5 out of 10. 5 points for awesome music, -5 for poor organization. It was my first and probably my last snow.down experience.

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