Jam band moe. prepares to rock Calvin Theater

By Ryan Kaplan

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Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Inject some jams into your life. Buffalo, New York jam rock band moe. will be performing at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton Sunday, Feb. 9. at  8 p.m.  Made up of guitarists and vocalists Al Schnier and Chuck Garvey, bassist and vocalist Rob Derhak, percussionist Jim Loughlin and drummer Vinnie Amico, moe. has been very active since they got their start in 1989. The group achieved their status as one of the premier jam bands in America by touring relentlessly, releasing a new album nearly every year they’ve been together, hosting their own music festivals, and sharing the stage with acts like Dave Matthews, the Allman Brothers and The Who.

Though moe. is often grouped into the jam band genre, they are, for all intents and purposes, just a rock band with progressive elements. Guitarist Chuck Garvey cites progressive-rock legends Frank Zappa, The Grateful Dead, Jeff Beck and King Crimson as major influences on both him and the band. moe.’s intricate, sophisticated playing and passion for lengthy, improvisational passages differentiates them with otherwise like-minded jam bands such as  Gov’t Mule and Widespread Panic, who stick to a more rock oriented style. Like all jam bands, moe. never plays the same show twice, constantly switching up their set lists and improvising a large part of the music they play on stage every night.

In typical jam band fashion, moe. puts soundboard quality recordings of their shows online for purchase through their website, moe.org. They also allow fans to tape the shows themselves. Thousands of shows that span moe.’s entire career can be found for download on the Live Music Archive at archive.org.

The band has also become a staple at many annual music festivals. They have headlined the Summer Camp Music Festival in Chillicothe, IL every year since its inception in 2001 and have played Bonnaroo five times. Their own summer festival moe.down, now in its 15th iteration, began in 2000, and it is held on Labor Day weekend at the Snow Ridge Ski area in Turin, New York. snoe.down, the self-proclaimed “premier winter music and sports festival” was held every March since 2005 but was put on hiatus for 2014. The band even had a moe. cruise in 2004 and 2007, in which fans could listen to the sounds of their favorite band as they sailed around the Caribbean.

This current tour, following a successful New Year’s Eve run at the Palace Theater in Albany, New York, spans the entire east coast, from Atlanta to Syracuse. In March, the band will take their tunes overseas for a European tour before coming home just in time for the start of festival season. Tickets for Sunday’s show are $26.50 and can be purchased online or at the Calvin. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m.

Ryan Kaplan can be reached at [email protected]