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.
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 Ophelia.
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.
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.
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.