moe. Review in Toronto - 03-06-2012

By Jay McConnery
Photo by Kaidy Mae Newman

moe. - Virgin Mobile Mod Club - Toronto - Mar.6 2012
More moe. photos by Kaidy Mae Newman on Flicker

This past Tuesday, Toronto's newest jam-hub, the Mod Club hosted a smiley, wily and mostly male audience for rock'n'roll juggernaut moe.'s first Canadian date in over two years. The spring-like weather inspired several long-dormant hibernators and plenty of out of town traffic-makers to create the perfect opportunity to catch up and enjoy the band in a cosy club atmosphere with amazing sightlines, crispy sound, and savvy bar-tenders.

Currently, moe. is celebrating the release of their newest offering 'What happened to the La Las?', a concise and fresh album and have been touring hard in it's support across the States and soon throughout Europe, spreading their unique blend of soulful progressive guitar-driven jam rock. The new album has earned some tasty reviews and is definitely fueling the band with renewed energy and approach in it's improvisations and especially with creative and varied set-lists.

This performance proved it, as moe. opened, oddly, with one of their old school favourites, 'Timmy Tucker', much to the surprise and delight of the audience. From here, the set twisted it's way through new song 'Rainshine', sing-along masterpiece 'All Roads Lead to Home', rarity 'lylelovit.' and introduced a great segue opportunity pairing 'Faker' and 'Kyle's Song'. Original and patiently improvised segues is something moe. is known for- and they were flowing this night like sweat down the back of an overworked donkey. The band was working their sound hard, which was doubly impressive as it was evident they were playing on a rented back-line. (probably to minimize the border-crossing nightmare that usually faces musicians).

After a quick smoke/set break- the second set opened with a rocking 'Road', turning the energy up in the room from Tuesday to near Thursday levels. The second set felt like noshing an overflowing bag of mid-Winter candy, each treat sweeter than the last, as moe. meandered through prog-y groove-fest 'McBain' and the Chuck-penned classic 'Y.O.Y'. The tell-tale harmonic introduction of 'Yodelittle' followed this huge chunk of music and continued to push the audience toward breaking point. The sweet pop perfection of Saint Augustine proved to be the perfect resolve for a purposely tension filled segue from 'Worm Wood' as most of the crowd were jumping in delight, singing along in unison.

The encore of 'Understand' was a welcome treat for this weary reveler and I certainly do understand that it ain't easy being a jamband. The ebb and flows of the lifestyle are like some strange condensed version of life, except the highs and lows are immediate, immeasurable, extreme, daily, by the minute and unnoticed in a genre that simply depends on it's players to be available emotionally and fully attentive musically every night.

Because at the centre of it all, philosophically, is a love and respect for all forms of music that makes this 'scene' different and special. What makes moe. legendary is their ability to deliver it all creatively without breaking too much of a sweat.. even on a Tuesday night in Canada, on rented gear.

Live recording by Bradm

moe. - 03-06-2012 - Mod Club - Toronto, ON

Set 1

  1. Timmy Tucker
  2. Rainshine
  3. All Roads Lead To Home >
  4. She >
  5. lylelovit.
  6. Faker>
  7. Kyle's Song

Set 2

  1. Road >
  2. McBain >
  3. YOY >
  4. Road
  5. Yode >
  6. Haze >
  7. WW >
  8. St. Aug 
  9. Understand (encore)
  10. Nebraska