Picture Show: moe. @ Electric Factory

moe. @ Electric Factory, March 9

Words: Bill Señor Martin
Images: Nick Irving

Jam stalwarts moe. returned to Philadelphia’s Electric Factory last Friday night for the penultimate show of their U.S. tour, fresh off several sold out concerts. The venue is one of the grittiest in the country, with a notorious lot scene, uneven acoustics and sometimes overbearing security. This night, however, the stars aligned and moe. let it be known from the outset that it could structure a performance to stand up to the Factory’s somewhat harsh and dark nature.

[All Photos by Nick Irving]

Out of the blocks with an energetic and confrontational Skrunk (with its refrain of “set my people free”), the subsequent songs – Cathedral, Godzilla and Runaway Overlude – continued to reinforce that serious and hardcore mood. Bassist Rob Derhak and guitarists Al Schnier and Chuck Garvey took turns leading the crowd into the abyss, all complemented by LD Jason Huffer’s fine work. The band then showcased Garvey’s Suck A Lemon, the first of two songs played that night from moe.’s new CD, What Happened To The La Las. The band promptly shifted gears and completed the set with some seriously old school moe. – Awesome Gary > Moth (unfinished) > Don’t Fuck with Flo – that left many audience members wondering if this was indeed the sleeper show of the 2012 winter tour.

The start of the second set continued in that same vibe, opening with Seat of My Pants then quickly segueing into a 23-minute version of the band’s crowd-pleasing classic Meat. Another new song, Puebla, led into – at least in this writer’s estimation – the best song that moe. has produced in years, Derhak’s cogent exploration of the meaning of it all, Billy Goat. The finale of that song presented the band with the opportunity to carefully and methodically jam into and finish the Moth from earlier in the evening. Another new tune, the Pink Floyd-inspired Silver Sun, allowed each member of the band to take a turn in the psychedelic-tinged spotlight, especially percussionist Jim Loughlin and one of the hardest working drummers in the business, Vinnie Amico. The band closed the set with what has been a high point to end shows throughout this tour, Rebubula, before reappearing for a lengthy double encore of Queen of Everything > Akimbo.

As the crowd left the venue and headed into the dark Philadelphia night, it was clear that even the most jaded critics of moe. were impressed and satisfied with what will be remembered as a classic Electric Factory performance. After a visit to Baltimore’s Ram’s Head Stage the following night, the group headed off to Europe for a two week, multi-city tour commencing with three nights at Amsterdam’s Jam in the Dam festival. moe. is a band that is on top of its game, as Europe is soon to find out.

03/09/12 • Electric Factory • Philadelphia , PA

Set 1: Skrunk, Cathedral, Godzilla > Runaway Overlude, Suck A Lemon, Awesome Gary > Moth > Don’t Fuck With Flo

Set 2: Seat Of My Pants > Meat > Puebla > Billy Goat1 > Moth, Silver Sun > Rebubula

Encore:Queen of Everything > Akimbo

1with Voodoo Chile teases

[via PT moe.]

You can check out an audience recording of the show here.

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