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moe.down 11 - Rob Derhak photo by: Jay Blakesberg Saturday at moe.down by Jake Senger Photos by Jay Blakesberg Saturday morning was a cold and damp one because the temperature had dropped substantially overnight in upstate New York. When the sun did make an appearance Saturday it turned out to be a beautiful day. After making some breakfast and preparing for the day I made my way to the stage to check out the bluegrass band The Punch Brothers. moe.down 11 - Punch Brothers photo by:Jay Blakesberg The Punch Brothers The Punch Brothers were the first Main stage act on Saturday. They are a bluegrass band consisting of Chris Thile (mandolin), Noam Pikelny (banjo), Gabe Witcher (fiddle/violin), Chris Eldridge (guitar) and Paul Kowert (bass). I was really excited for their set since I love the mandolin and had heard that Chris Thile is one of the best mandolin players today. Their set was a ton of fun and a joy to be able to watch such talented musicians play. It was great to look around at the audience while the Punch brothers were jamming and see all the smiles on eveyone’s faces. I thought the highlight of their set was a fantastic version of the song . moe. The Saturday afternoon day set by moe. is always a great one. The sun was out for the entire moe. set and they delivered. It started off really strong with, Skrunk > Lazurus > Spine of a Dog, some of moe.’s stronger tunes. Next was the tune New York City which was used this year as the theme for the kids parade. All the kids who were attending moe.down with their families dressed up in costumes that represented New York City and danced on stage while moe. played. A couple songs later they played 32 Things, which in my opinion was the highlight of the day set. It’s always great to listen to Al and Chuck trading guitar riff’s during the 32 Things jam. They ended the show with Y.O.Y, and dedicated it to the next band on the Buzz stage, Monkey Wrench. Unfortuantely I missed yet another band on the Buzz stage. Built to Spill I was absolutely blown away by this indie rock band from Boise, Idaho. Lead singer Doug Martsch is an excellent songwriter with a great voice. The guitar work in this band is really magical. There were so many great jams with all three guitarists playing in perfect unison with one another. The last song of their set had to have been about 15 minutes ending with a wall of distortion and epic solo’s by all three guitarists. Built to Spill is definitely a band I want to learn more about after seeing them this weekend. After their set it was time to head back to the campsite and get ready for Lotus and moe. Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to catch any of the bands on the Buzz stage but all the acts on the Main stage have surpassed my expectations so far. Lotus I have seen Lotus at a few festivals before and they’re always a good time. Their Saturday night set at moe.down was no different. I thought the first half of their set was a little slow with a little too much keyboards and electronics for me. However, the crowd seemed to be loving it. The moe.down audience was dancing, smiling and tossing plenty of glow sticks. Guitarist and keyboardist Luke Miller even commented on the amount of glow sticks at moe.down this year. He told the audience “he should have bought stock in that glow stick company years ago”. I thought the best music emanating from the stage was when both Luke Miller and Mike Rempel were on guitars, for much of the second half of their show. Their show was definitely a great opener for moe. and got the party started. moe.down 11 - Al Schnier photo by:Jay Blakesberg moe. Saturday night’s moe. set started out strong with their classic composition Plane Crash. They segued into their instrumental hectors pillow then played a solid version of one of my favorite moe. tunes, Bring You Down. Next up was, Day Dreaming, a new song they debuted this summer. The highlight of the entire night was their cover of Radiohead’s Paranoid Android into Ricky Martin then into Time Ed. The Time Ed jam was incredible with some great malletkat work by Jim. Second set started out very dark and rocking with Seat of my Pants > Bear Song > Runaway Overload. Next up was one of their more popular songs, Recreational Chemistry. This definitely wasn’t one of the better Rec chem’s I have seen. It had a long jam but I didn’t think it really went anywhere interesting. They ended the show with Not Coming Down > Wormwood > Plane Crash which was somewhat anti climatic compared to the three songs that had opened the set. A solid version of Faker ended the night and left us wanting more music the next day.
moe.down 11 Photo by: Jay Blakesberg Friday at moe.down by: Jake Senger Photos: Jay Blakesberg Friday, September 3rd, 2010 marked the opening of the eleventh moe.down festival. moe.down is a annual labour day music festival thrown by the band moe. The past ten moe.down’s had all taken place at Snowridge Ski Resort in Turin, NY. This years installment was held in Mohawk, NY at the Gelston Castle Estate. The change in venues had to give it a different feeling for both the band and it’s fans. We pulled into Gelston Castle around 5:00 pm on Friday to a small lineup of cars. I was rather surprised that it did not take us all that long to park our car. Earlier this summer Further had played at this venue and I had heard many stories of long wait times to park your car. So long in fact that many people missed the beginning of the show and some even turned around and headed home. Next we began the extremely long trek to the campsites. At the majority of camping music festivals that I have attended you set up your tent beside your parked car. However, at moe.down attendees must walk their camping gear from the parking lot to an open field near the two stages. The distance between the parking lot and the designated camping area at this year’s moe.down was treacherous. It was about a twenty minute walk from our parked car to our camping spot. It took multiple trips to unload all the gear and therefore took us more then an hour to find a spot and get set up. I heard many complaints Friday from people that the walk to camping at this years moe.down was just too far. I would have to agree and think that if moe.down is held at the same site next year, they should have shuttles to help bring the campers gear to the camping area. moe.down 11 - Vinnie Amico Photo by: Jay Blakesberg The concert field at Gelston Castle holds two stages. The Main stage and a side stage called, the Buzz stage. The concert field is absolutely beautiful with many vendors, beers stands and portable toilets. Both Main stage and Buzz stage are at the bottom of a hill with plenty of room for the fans to watch the shows from the slopped hill. Watching the shows from high up on the hill allows fans to take in the stunning view of Mohawk Valley behind the stage. Tortoise The first Main stage act this year was Tortoise at 6:30 pm, Friday night. Tortoise is a five person instrumental rock band from Chicago, Illinois. They were one of my most anticipated sets of the entire weekend and they did not disappoint. Tortoise had two drum kits set up facing each other at the front of the stage. Their drummers really worked well together, pounding out great rhythms. Other instruments on stage included keyboards, guitars, xylophones and a bass. The members would switch instruments depending on the song. The crowd seemed to be really digging them and enjoying their set. Tortoise played some really great electronic grooves and gave the crowd great music to dance to. It was a perfect opening set for what was going to be a great weekend of music. Next up for me was, the musical headliner each night, moe. moe.down 11 - Chuck Garvey Photo by: Jay Blakesberg moe. I missed The Macpodz and Nas and Damian Marley because I opted to head back to the campsite instead. Back at the campsite I made some food and had a couple drinks with friends. With about fifteen minutes till moe. was supposed to hit the stage a group of us met up at the left side of the soundboard and got ready for moe.’s first set of the weekend. moe. opened their Friday night set with a great version of their instrumental song zoz. Next up were two of moe.s older songs, Time Again and Waiting for the Punchline. The two guitarists, Al Schnier and Chuck Garvey, were both on fire all night long. In my opinion, the highlight of the set was Puebla > George > Brent Black > Akimbo. The jam out of Puebla into George was fantastic. Rob Derhak started playing a great bass riff at about thirteen minutes into Puebla with Al and Chuck picking up on it and adding their own sound to the mix. The jam into George was so tight that it sounded like it could have been a written instrumental trac. Throughout the Puebla > George jam Rob was on playing some great bass grooves with Vinnie Amico and Jim Loughlin holding the rhythm. The crowd was really into the show Friday night with everyone dancing and singing along all night. Even the rain during the show could not put a damper on the crowd.