Friday, September 17, 2010

moe.down xi, 9/3-5/10, mohawk, ny

moe.down xi, 9/3-5/10, mohawk, ny

LYNN'S NOTE: is currently hosting a slightly toned down version of this review, but I felt compelled to pimp it out here, full-force as per tradition- with gratuitous photos of my friends and our shenanigans throughout the weekend. So, please consider this the "Bells & Whistles" version of my moe.down review. A Special Edition, if you will. Please note, I also did a special moe.down Survival Guide for that appeared before the festival-- don't forget to check it out and keep it in mind when you're getting psyched & packing for moe.down xii!

What I do want to add to my review below, is that I look forward to moe.down all year. And as I stood there watching Phish at Jones Beach last month, I realized I was actually thinking about how awesome moe.down was going to be...

THURSDAY, 9/2/10

Utica, NY. By the time I got to the Red Roof Inn on Thursday night, my running crew were already 1/2 through a plastic bottle of Canadian Mist Whiskey (& a 3 liter of Root Beer) and a few sixers of Guinness & Old Chub. Adding to the fun was Screaming Chicken, a noisy little fella first introduced to us in this (horribly shot) video a few days prior.

I'm not going to get into the reason he had it because it would probably offend some of you. So, let's just start with-- my buddy Hern had a Screaming Chicken (that he took from his mom) and it apparently NEEDED to run for Mayor of moe.ville. This would be el Herno's 2nd run as a Mayoral Campaign Manager (the first being my unsuccessful, yet ultimately groundbreaking campaign in '02). With Screaming Chicken, the main goal was to get him onstage and watch the band enjoy him... Winning the election would just be a bonus.

Regardless, it's fair to say the sounds emanating from room 237 that night most definitely traumatized neighbors, but at least we had settled on a campaign strategy. WAAAAAAAH WAAAAAAAAAH!

FRIDAY, 9/3/10

8:00AM. Parking lot breakfast > Kwik-E-Mart for ice, coffee, and in the case of the self-proclaimed, "Wookie Paul Begala”, a florescent green "sour apple" squishy that would send him over the edge.

We were a caravan of 6 cars and arrived at the Gelston Castle grounds by 9AM, where they herded us into LOT 1. We were psyched about this cuz on the map, Lot 1 doesn't look too far from the campsite, but if you were to look at a topographical map of the place, it'd be a totally different story. The strategy was to go claim some land on the first trip in and hopefully only have to do 3 total trips in/out. Once we started on the journey we realized the reality of our situation. 3 trips might kill us. Most of the hike in was uphill on really slippery gravel roads and (especially dragging equipment) it certainly felt a hell of a lot longer than 1/4 mile. Said map was already misleading. That map is a douchebag.

On our first walk in, I noticed some beautiful moe. Tibetan Prayer Flags flapping in the wind. It was very calming, but it was only making the haul slightly more tolerable.

The section of campground that had been labeled as "family camping" was practically full by 9:30AM. We were forced to walk towards the supposed "not so quiet side" which we were hoping to avoid altogether (and in the long run, that side may have actually ended up as "the quiet side" since no one wanted to walk that far). El Herno, hungover and having catalyzed his digestive system with squishy, refused to walk any further once we got to the main intersection near the RV lot. We tried to talk some festival-sense into him, but he was sweating whiskey sugar, threw his stuff down, and vanished like sasquatch.

We nestled ourselves as far into a buffered zone as possible. At least there was enough space for all of us to camp together. RV's were already spilling out into the tent camping. The campground was just too small. Later in the day, the venue would mow.down (see what I did there?) more tall grass on-the-fly in order to create even more space for tents. I heard this new expansion and the farthest side of the camping area were kinda wet and swampy, but I never ventured that far down to check it out for myself. I was already sick of walking.

They ran some golf carts with flatbeds attached- the moe.down Express, but there weren't nearly enough of them and there was absolutely no system to try and obtain one. No taxi stand, no nothing. This led to massive corruption via bribery. Kat, who is handicapped, spoke to Security and was able to obtain a cart after a short wait. Hern, on the other hand, waited for 3 hours to get his Marine Cooler in on one. The rest of us hoofed it.

Security was thorough, some more than others. One of the heavies was apparently going through people's wallets. Fucking seriously? I'm curious if that type of search ever actually pays off at the end of a day? Can we see some numbers on this?

What had also immediately caught my attention in the campgrounds was the presence of shower trailers! Freakin' fabulous! After our 3rd and final horrible trek in from the cars (at that point it was like 97 BAZILLION degrees and humid), we spent the wisest $10 of the weekend- taking the very first showers in the trailers. Changed my whole outlook on life. Reset me for the start of moe.down xi. YAY!

Heat and sleep deprivation threatened to get the better of me, but napping didn’t happen. The one time I felt myself drifting off into Happy Sleepyland, I heard the ever-growing WAAAAAAAH WAAAAAAAAH's of Screaming Chicken, who was eventually perched at my window. Around this time, awesome visitors started stopping through, so no rest for the weary! It was great to start seeing all my random moe.ron friends in the same place, at the same time. That's pretty much what it's all aboot and it made me feel much better. So did the Advil, Gatorade, and edamame.

the self-proclaimed "wookie paul begala"

he had him at "WAAAAH!"

It became clear from our first walk into the concert area (at least, once we got to the top of THAT hill) why moe. chose this particular spot. We were standing on top of a ridge overlooking the entire Mohawk Valley. It was breathtaking. Those motherfuckers.

Both the Main and "Buzz" stages were at the bottom of this gigantic hill, which would apparently require much climbing. Go figure. I tried to calculate out how many times total I would have to walk down/climb back and came to the conclusion these trips would need to be rationed each day. Which bands would earn my pain? I needed a sandwich to think this over and got a "loaded grilled cheese" from Dave's Mini Donuts-- melty Cheese, Bacon, & Tomato on Texas Toast (no 3rd layer of bread on the inside, cuz I’m not a fucking animal.). It was an inspiring combination and I was officially ready to rock! First impression of the vendors: too many burritos and where was John Street Graphics?

"loaded grilled cheese" sans completely unnecessary 3rd slice of toast.

the crumbling ruins of Gelston Castle

The sound at the top of the hill was brilliant and I enjoyed a chunk of Tortoise with my sammich, but from what I recall, they seemed to have ended early and that was disappointing. The Macpodz hit the Buzz stage and were totally rockin'. They really did a great job prepping the grounds for 3 days of fun.

My musical priority at moe.down is seeing all the moe. sets, so there are always a few bands that get lost in the shuffle, especially when the lineups are strong. Due to general exhaustion, I didn't see as much music on Friday as originally intended. I actually skipped Nas and Damian Marley to rest up for moe. and prep for the impending WEATHER. Nasty looking chunks of Hurricane Earl were breaking off the main storm and racing our way. I fucking hate hurricanes that start with the letter "E".

It was the beginning of the weekend and Security hadn't given up yet, so we allowed for extra time to get into the concert site for moe. before making the first of many treks down that shiteously grand hill. Finally, moe. came out and just beat the shit out of us with music. Highlights from this first set were… pretty much the whole thing. Z0Z > Time Again (*love*) > Punchline was spectacular (and carthartic as always). They lost me a little bit with Blue Jeans Pizza -> Captain America, but Puebla -> George was fucking dark and EPIC. They twisted it up and took it someplace new. Absolute brilliance. moe. at their best-- why you love moe.. To make it even more intense, the rain arrived- absolute shitstorms exploded over us- and the band, as they should- played harder!! The crowd threw on their rain layers and stayed put! WE WILL OBEY OUR MASTERS! Brent Black -> Akimbo just wrapped the evil into a big freakin' bow. After the encore break they started right back in with Brent Black > Billy Goat which worked really well as a combo. I dig that I'm digging the new songs and will continue to pat myself on the back for it. Billy Goat was stuck in my head for the rest of the night.

Despite the rain, it wasn't too cold out Friday night, so we definitely lucked out with that, but I still needed a little tequila to warm me back up before bed. Fucking awful floodlight in the campground. "That thing is death on death's wheels" - Chris Fordice

Zed Naught Z >
Time Again ->
Waiting For The Punchline
Blue Jeans Pizza >
Captain America ->
Puebla ->
Brent Black ->

Brent Black >
Billy Goat

DL THE SHOW! (thanks, Scott Bernstein!)

SATURDAY, 9/4/10

I awoke around 6am on Saturday morning because Kat was screaming at a drummer who'd been going since post-moe. around 2am. Then Hern definitely threatened to shove the drum up dude’s ass, sideways.

The 2nd time I woke up because we were setting out on our first Saturday Quest. Chris Fordice, who hadn't cut his hair since 2/2009, was heading over to the Kids Tent to donate his long hippay ponytail to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths Program, who create wigs for cancer patients undergoing chemo. He's a do-gooder. It was the 2nd year of the moe.down hair-drive. The sky was looking ominous and the wind started picking up.

> Java Junction for my first cup of 2010. Spectacular! > Unfortunately, not the Punch Brothers for us, cuz the sky was all, "storm's comin'"... We went on Official Tarp-Duty and Earl started viciously bitch-slapping us.

... it's just not the same.

The skies finally cleared up a short while before moe.'s afternoon set, which was a relief. When we tried to get inside we were met with an absolute clusterfuck of a line (and some people attempting to find short-cuts through the marsh).

We waited in line about 10-15 minutes before they finally gave up and just asked to see wristbands to get in. About time. By the end of the weekend, security realized we were mostly a danger to ourselves, and had turned to confiscating cans of beer that people had duct taped to their bodies for fun (true story).

The place was buzzing and moe. needed to warm us up! The winds were an issue (forecast was calling for a few 50+ mph gusts) and the top of the stage and lighting rig needed to be lowered. As campers, we were left hoping for the best, but it was time to rock the fuck out! Skrunk > Lazarus. Someone mentioned that it was odd to hear Lazarus during the day, which I could see, but it was wonderful regardless. Still not a fan of the > Spine, instead of just starting with the singing. Blah blah blah, trying something new, etc..

NYC brought out the Kids Tent Parade- and it was lookin' mighty crowded this year. Are they just getting bigger or are there more of them now? I definitely won't mention the 9/11 joke that got a beautiful GROAN out of the crowd. Next year's Kid's Tent theme: Rec Chem!

A ruckus St. Augustine > energetic 32 Things, spirited Y.O.Y.. The guys were having a lot of fun, running around and striking poses. It was really cute. Al was on fucking FIYAH during the afternoon set!

I checked out Monkey Wrench for a few minutes and then had to go charge my phone in the car for a while. The music was crystal clear from Lot 1 and I got to enjoy all of Monkey Wrench and Built To Spill, who were rockin' (went to check them out on the hill once the phone was juiced). The wind was intense at times and once back at camp, I saw the carnage. Our main canopy got tossed, but our neighbors' (who were *GOLD STAR NEIGHBORS*!) EZ-Up was apparently ripped out of the ground by a gust and 1 of the metal legs was actually sheared off. Damn! It seemed like the worst was behind us though, and the forecast had finally stopped calling for rain.

Sunsetty skies over Built To Spill

the moe.ville p.j.'s

Saturday night got cold, but it was really quite beautiful. We escorted el Herno over to the merch tent where he officially registered Screaming Chicken as a Mayoral Candidate. History in-the-making, folks.

Orgone was owning the Buzz stage all night, they were a nice funky score (all the way from LA) and I’ll definitely check 'em out again. Hopefully they'll be in NYC more with what will surely be increased demand.

We found a sweet pocket of sound/sight near the tapers and settled in. Plane Crash opener, but then > a ridiculous SET of moe.tastical madness. I *loved* Friday night's set, but the Saturday PM set was just out of control! One after the other!!! > Hector's Pillow > Bring You Down, Daydreaming, Paranoid Android (SPOOKY) > Ricky Marten > Time Ed, SOMP > Bearsong > a hard Runaway Overlude > A SUPER-SATISFYING Rec Chem!!! I've been waiting for that kind of Rec Chem for a year and moe. delivered! Worth the wait! Not Coming Down > Wormwood > Plane Crash. They did cut out the Plane Crash middle-man so-to-speak, and I'll take it! Then a super awesome Faker to tuck us all in for the night. Love, moe..

Turbine played a late night set in the RV area. They were loud, but at least they were good.

Also, no band-swaps or special guests (yet)? Curious.

Skrunk >
Lazarus >
Spine Of A Dog
New York City
St. Augustine >
32 Things


Plane Crash >
Hector's Pillow >
Bring You Down
Paranoid Android >
Ricky Marten >
Time Ed
Seat Of My Pants >
Bearsong >
Runaway Overlude >
Recreational Chemistry
Not Coming Down >
Wormwood >
Plane Crash


DL THE SHOW! (thanks, Scott Bernstein!)

SUNDAY, 9/5/10

On Sunday AM, we awoke to our canopy down (again) and some of the buffer-tents already being taken down as people prepped to leave that night. Losing the buffer tents always worries me, but the combination of that, the now lack of canopies (along with their privacy), and our proximity to the main drag-- it wasn't gonna be a pretty scene in the late-night.

But we'll worry about that later, eh? Sunday was a packed schedule. I headed in for Ryan Montbleau Band (and Java Junction) and they were freakin' awesome. Am I becoming a Ryan Montbleau Band fan? Stayed in for Grace Potter & the Nocturnals. Last year at Bonnaroo, their set kicked ass and their switch-off with moe. was killer. Maybe it was cuz I was still at the top of the hill, but I wasn't getting the same energy this time around. Grace spent a lot of time at the organ this set and I think she's better running around with the flying-V. The cover of Blondie's Heart of Glass was obscenely good, though. Then, they lost my attention span and I wandered back to camp for downtime.

Hey, it's THAT guy!

Screaming Chicken was hard at work on the campaign trail- which was essentially, strapped to Hern's backpack for easy access and publicity stunts involving the port-a-potties. As Screaming Chicken's Hype Man, my duties were mostly spreading the good word of WAAAAAAAH!!! and shit-talking the other candidates. I totally got into Rage Lincoln's head, telling him there was a Screaming Chicken that “had his number”. He looked taken aback. “WAAAAAAH!!!” No one wants to get up early on Saturday morning, Rage.

> Mike Gordon Band!!!! SWEET! Out of all the Phish side/solo projects, I've always been the most drawn to Mike's, so I was totes psyched he was back at moe.down! He mostly played his solo stuff, but also a Phish and Radiohead tune. Aww, Mike! Hearts.

There was some good buzz going around about Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds, so I checked them out. They were pretty good, but their set was unfortunately in a key resting spot between Mike Gordon and the Black Keys. I stayed for a few songs but eventually headed back to camp for Black Keys pregame and additional wardrobe layerage... and tequila.

my favorite neighbor!

The Black Keys did totally rock, but they did not get me down that hill. They drew a big crowd and I hope that between Ryan Montbleau, Grace Potter, Mike Gordon, and the Black Keys- moe. sold a decent amount of Sunday 1 Day Passes.

The Mayoral Election was quickly approaching, so the running crew took turns saying goodbye to Screaming Chicken, and I checked out the Brew for a while before handing off our favorite Mayoral Candidate to the proper authorities. The Brew were playing to a large crowd of dancing people- lots of great moe.down vibes emanating from the Buzz Stage.

Mark terrorizes the children.

Sunday was clear & gorgeous, the night was the same... but colder. And dark. I got a nice treat when Mark brought me into the pit for Set I! The only drawback was getting pelted with glowsticks and the occasional REX FOR MAYOR beach ball. So, I got right to work on REX, who was easy to find- as he was the only grown man wearing a sash that said "REX FOR MAYOR" in my line of vision. "You don't stand a chance, Rex. Screaming Chicken 4-EVA WAAAAAAH WAAAAAAH!!"

Buster > Haze (great) > Yodelittle (YES) > AWESOME & DRIVING McBain- fantastic! Cornflake Girl and a fun Timmay to end out the Set. The ol' Rape > Fun segue.

When it was time for the Mayoral Election, we gathered 'round with much anticipation. How would Screaming Chicken do? He was clearly the inanimate-object front-runner, and sometimes that's all it takes. Shit, we'd be happy if he just pissed off a few people. Rob had some sort of immediate aversion to Screaming Chicken. Fortunately for us, Screaming Chicken was embraced by not only the moe.lings, but also Al, who was really pulling for him. WAAAAAAH!! Rob seemed to be more agreeable with the possibility of a hybrid candidate- combining a fisting sex toy candidate & Screaming Chicken-- soon dubbed "Chicken McFisty" by Chuck. While the crowd really got behind Fisty McChicken Chicken McFisty, in the end, it was Rage Lincoln with his wookified Headysburg Address who took the election. Rage then got onstage and promptly spilled a beer in Rob's effects pedals^. So it goes, moe.ville. So it goes.

On a side note, I will be cutting and pasting the above paragraph onto my resume.

That election (like most) seemed to take for fucking ever, but finally they began Set II with Moth > rocking Queen of Everything. A groovy Four > noodly Rebubula intro. This was precisely when I was abducted by my friend Jen (aka JamGal), who dragged me back up front on chuck.side! Hot damn! Twist my arm, sista! Rebubula, always a warm-fuzzy at moe.down, was sweet, sentimental, and a really nice way to wrap up Set II.

Then, a stellar encore that went on for almost an hour! Deep This Time kicked it off, but for me, the encore was all aboot The Pit and Chuck being fucking awesome. He was just absolutely shredding! > Farmer Ben > Moth. Good stuff!

During the fireworks, Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds were a little too close to a live mic and happened to be cheering for every individual firework. "PURRRPLE!!! WOOOO!!!!!" "RED!!! WOOOO!!!" Then some unsolicited, "SISTER SPARROW!!! WOOOOO!!" ‘s. Insert eye-roll here.

That's it? moe.down xi, done already? It went by so fast. We wandered back to camp and immediately tried to re-block Death On Death's Wheels, but the floodlight actually turned out to be less of a problem than the ZOMBIE TECHNO DANCE PARTY that set up shop on the intersection and managed to go til 4-5am-ish? How is it that moe. need to be off stage by a certain time to comply with sound ordinances, but any shithead with a generator and a sub-woofer can keeps thousands of people awake and go un-regulated until sunrise? The music was at a deafening volume and the ground was literally shaking. It was as if they turned one speaker downward to vibrate the actual bedrock. Yah, I'm getting old, but I've always liked sleep- and sleep was impossible until they shut the fuck up right before dawn.

I will say that once again, moe. did a great job keeping the nitrous element out of the festival, but there was at least one tank going on Sunday night and that Pied Piper set up shop in our courtyard for about 10 minutes before moving along and leading his minions elsewhere.

This is exactly what it was like trying to sleep on Sunday night:


Buster ->
Haze ->
Yodelittle ->
Cornflake Girl
Timmy Tucker

moe.ville Mayoral Election
Moth ->
Queen of Everything
Four ->

Deep This Time
The Pit- >
Farmer Ben ->

DL THE SHOW! (Thanks, TJ!)

MONDAY, 9/6/10

Really? It's over?? ... Really?!?? No Ugly American?!??

Monday began early, with the realization that I had to clean up the shit-sty that had accumulated in and around my tent. Breakdown at moe.down is a time for reflection. It all went by so fast, I could have handled another day... Then again, indoor plumbing, my dog, and an actual bed were comforting thoughts. I headed back in to Java Junction for my annual moe.down Monday AM coffee. I'll miss this place. Not the hills, or the gravel, or the Zombie Techno Dance Party, but pretty much everything else. Didn't mind that there were no guests or band-swaps this year, it streamlined the moe. nicely. Still a few people I'd yet to run into, but hopefully I'll see 'em in Albany.

i fucking hate this hike!

stay away from the circus tent!

gold star neighbors!

moe.down xi come and gone. xi/xi. I'm still covered in mystery bruises, but I'm pretty sure I had a good time. 8 HUZZAHS!

- Many more moe.down Express carts & some sort of organized/fair system for usage.
- More camping space!!! It was beyond crowded in the campsite this year. Who are we, Darfur?
- More port-a-potties (double or triple the amount from this year)!!! The lack of port-a-potty-age & cleaning schedule for what was there, was disappointing- even inside the concert area.
- Moving Sidewalks. Or maybe kill two birds with one stone here- somehow combine the moving sidewalks with the port-a-potties. That way by the time I've gotten to the top of that fucking hill I'll have already peed.
- Power Station: someplace people can quick-charge their phones within the concert site. Mostly so I don't have to spend 1 1/2 hours at my car on Saturday. Maybe a booth/station in vending with a solar cell and outlets to share the juice?
- Black Crowes, Ween, Elvis Costello, God Street Wine (all day/night on the Buzz Stage), Lucinda Williams... and a Todd Snider Sunday afternoon set.


^ Chicken McFisty would *never* have done this, FYI.

1 comment:

sofajockey said...

Great write up and photos! The production values on the videos is awesome!!