Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Quick Fix with Tom Hamilton of American Babies

A Quick Fix with Tom Hamilton of American Babies

It's ribbon cutting time on a brand new feature here at, where we will focus on getting to better know some of our favorite musicians by asking them the hard-hitting, dirt-digging questions most other blogs don't have the balls to ask. Still trying to think of a permanent title for this (yes, have considered "The Balls"). At least for now, it's A Quick Fix-- so, enjoy it while it lasts.

In our very first installment of A Quick Fix, the fabulous Tom Hamilton of the wonderful American Babies sits down to discuss their beautiful new album, Flawed Logic & answer some of these other impossibly mind-bending questions!


TH: The polygamy, along with everything else about the band, comes from necessity. When I started this whole thing I had written a bunch of tunes and needed a band to record them. So I asked my friends if they would be into coming into the studio and tracking. Fortunately, my friends happen to be really talented people.

For this new album I embraced the revolving door aspect of players and had different bands for different songs, which definitely helped vary the songs and bring them to where they needed to be.

The live band these days is pretty set with Dave Butler on drums, my brother Jim on bass, and Keyboard wiz Adam Flicker on keys. It’s a funny group of dudes, for sure.


At the time when I hunkered down to put the album together there was a lot of turmoil on every level. My personal life (a failed engagement), my family life (my older brother’s impending military deployment), the cities I was living in (the music scenes in Philly and Brooklyn), our country (financial meltdown), and in the world in general (war, war, war). It was too much to ignore.

Most of my songwriting up until this point was looking inward and usually dealt with love in one way or another. It’s a common place to write from that I feel very comfortable in. But I couldn’t, in good conscience, take that easy street again.

I was filled with passion about the subject matter, was feeling overtly self-righteous, and this is where the problem began. I had no idea how to handle these feelings. I had no voice for this type of material and don’t really enjoy heavy-handed, preachy songs. My solution was to observe how other people were dealing with the current state of things. Single men and women, young couples, married couples, professionals, stoners. Whomever would talk to me I would engage.

My records all have a common thread, which was usually the narrator. Where things ended up on “Flawed Logic” was having the common thread be the circumstances in which every character lived.


Ha! I’m glad that line hit you with some force but I wouldn’t go as far as saying “divine inspiration”. Just casual observation :)


We (my producer, Bill Moriarty and I) were about half way through “Weight of the World” when I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. It was the last song written and it fought me the whole way. I had a verse and one line of the chorus down when I brought it in to the studio and we weren’t sure if it was going to make the record. Once I finished the lyrics to the chorus I felt that the record was finally written. The rest of the verses wrote themselves and the only track left to record at that point was the closer “Great Expectations”, which was already finished.


Everything. The camaraderie within a band on the road is magical. Like minds that are all focused on one goal, it’s beautiful.

Then there is the traveling. Where you get to truly see the regional differences in this great country. Different trees, smells, markets, weather. Meeting different people and hearing their views and accents. It’s wonderful and inspiring.


Very much so.


I have a few David Sedaris books I’ve been meaning to go to that I will surely be bringing with me.


Definitely a group effort here.


I love the enormous truck stops in the Midwest. The ones with an entire country-western clothing store inside of them are my fav. One of these days I’m gonna walk onstage wearing only items purchased at one of those places. A Harley leather vest with a Bolo tie is a great look :)


I do love me some boiled peanuts. Being vegetarian (a bad one) makes it so I cant really enjoy those types of things because meat is usually a big part of it. ie: Pulled pork and the like.


When I still ate red meat, damn right!!! I LOVED that stuff.


Not as of yet, but it is definitely something I keep my eye on.


Southern fans are really great. It’s a very relaxed vibe and I think our leanings towards old-school country music goes over very well there.


I can assure anyone that comes to an American Babies show that you will see four guys giving everything they have and more on the stage that night. Any fan of live music knows that energy like that is contagious in a music hall and can be a very powerful thing.


Of course!!


Yes, that sounds fantastic. I would probably have to not be a vegetarian for at least a day for that :)


I would take the rhythm section from the Funk Brothers (Motown session band) with Crosby, Stills and Nash as my backing singers. Gregg Allman on organ, and John Lennon on piano (he could do it).


Many thanks to Tom Hamilton for busting the cherry on this new bloggy feature!! I look forward to seeing him in spurs and a bolo, but I look even more forward to the Friday 4/29 American Babies show at the Mercury Lounge in NYC! HUZZAH!!

Flawed Logic, their very excellent new album, dropped last Tuesday and is available: on itunes, through Engine Room Recordings, and of course at every single one of their upcoming shows (see below for dates).

American Babies are hitting the road TODAY! GO SEE THEM AND GET YOUR FACE MELTED! Please check their website for the most updated list of stops!

04.27 American Babies @ The Downtown (Red Bank, NJ)
04.28 American Babies @ World Cafe Live (Philadelphia, PA)
04.29 American Babies @ Mercury Lounge (New York, NY)
04.30 American Babies @ Great Scott (Boston, MA)
05.12 American Babies, 11pm @ Club Metronome (Burlington, VT)
05.13 American Babies, 8pm @ Red Square (Albany, NY)
05.14 American Babies, 8:30pm @ River Street Jazz Cafe (Wilkes-Barre, PA)
05.19 American Babies, 8pm @ The Pour House Music Hall (Raleigh, NC)
05.20 American Babies, 9pm @ Mo Daddy's (Asheville, NC)
05.21 American Babies @ The White Mule (Columbia, SC)
05.22 American Babies @ The Pourhouse (Charleston, SC)
06.25 American Babies @ Majestic Theater/The Magic Stick (Detroit, MI)
08.06 American Babies @ Flood City Music Festival (Johnstown, PA)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ryan Montbleau Band, 4/15/11, Brooklyn Bowl, NYC

Ryan Montbleau Band, w/ Dwight & Nicole, 4/15/11, Brooklyn Bowl, NYC

Over the past couple of years I've seen the Ryan Montbleau Band open for both moe. (thrice, including moe.down) and JJ Grey & Mofro. Their particular brand of upbeat feel-good jam rock always leaves me happy, so I was totes psyched to finally be able to see a headliner show (though this turned out to be 1 long set instead of 2 to make way for a DJ, wah waaah). Recently, RMB had a lineup change. Violist, Laurence Scudder left, and his spot was filled by Guitarist, Lyle "New Guy" Brewer. While Scudder does have really nice hair, Brewer totally shreds-- so it's cool. It also seems to have increased the Bluesy Guitar Rock vibe while simultaneously decreasing any sort of lineup similarity to The Dave Matthews Band^ -> Instantly More Street Cred, so it's really a win-win-win.

Dwight & Nicole opened the show. Their backup band were actually the Ryan Montbleau Band, minus Ryan Montbleau (this made the set change pretty easy). D&N were fun, funky, had tons of soul- the room was definitely getting down. However, I spent most of this time slightly freaked out because none other than the infamous LUCY (yes) was there (what are the odds?), recognized me (how??), and (seemingly) came over for... a hug?!? (whaaaat??!?) Luckily, I actually had no idea who she was^^ and stayed back while I inquired, so there was never an opportunity for any surprise ice pick stabbies to the kidneys. But, ooohhh, awwwkwaaard! Who's walking me to the car later?

The place was pretty packed and by the time RMB hit the stage, there wasn't much elbow room on the floor. I immediately noticed that more than half of the room was female, which felt totally bizarro cuz the shows I'm at are typically Sausage Fests. No joke, though-- Ryan Montbleau is like The Pied Piper of chicks. For good reason-- his music radiates some sort of contagious YOU GO GIRL feeling that's even better than a really good episode of Oprah. Ladies-- you know.

HOT DAMN, it was a great show! A spectacularly rockin' set with a ton of energy and good vibes. As a noob, I can't dissect everything that went on cuz I don't really know song names, but RMB blew the back walls off of Brooklyn Bowl. They were JAMMING and it was AWESOME!! John and Scott Aruda sat in on horns for a few songs scattered throughout, which was super funky. As were Dwight & Nicole on backup vocals (and tambourine) for a couple at the end of the night.

There's a reason I always refer to Ryan Montbleau Band as feel-good. You could be in an epically shitty mood and I'd still Double Dog Dare you to refrain from smiling and dancing by halfway through their first song. They're uplifting and carefree. The room was full of happy. It's always amazing how a night of music and dancing can cure what ails you.

Honestly, I don't know them well enough for the Violist/Guitarist switch to be an issue (I may even like it better), but lineup switches always create heated arguments amongst the fans. Max Verna -> Todd Pasternack. Tomo & Bevo -> Aubrey & Pete. David -> Sammy -> the guy from Extreme -> David (- Michael, + Wolfgang). I'm interested in hearing what old skoolers have to say about it.

Obligatory rip on Brooklyn Bowl's sound: If only the sound was as good as the Fried Chicken! I would have stayed all the way up front for most of the show, but the bass was so painfully loud up against the al.side stage that it was hurting my skeleton (again). WHY WON'T THEY FIX THIS?? It's a live music venue, sound should be waaay up there on the Priority List. Brooklyn Bowl strikes again!

Ryan Montbleau Band, (w/ Dwight & Nicole), 4/15/11, Brooklyn Bowl: 8.8 HUZZAHS!! If you haven't heard them yet, check them out-- you'll be all, "Ohh, so that's why all my friends love these guys and keep telling me to see them!"

Grain Of Sand
Here et al
75 And Sunny
Head Above Water*
Maybe Today
Driving Wheel*
Honeymoon Eyes
Inspired By No One
A Way With Women
You Haven't Done Nothin'@
Dead Set*
Any Blues@>
Love Songs@
I Can't Wait*

*John Aruda Saxophone & Scott Aruda Trumpet
+Scott Aruda Trumpet
@ Dwight & Nicole / John & Scott

** Waiting on a few recordings to go up on the archive before choosing a favorite one, when I do- the link will be HERE **


^ Dave Matthews Band wishes their fans were as cool as Ryan Montbleau Band fans. They're not. I'm sure they sob themselves to sleep every night atop their giant piles of money.
^^ Didn't recognize her with shoes and socks.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dos Heteros, 4/9/11, Mexicali, Teaneck, NJ

Dos Heteros, 4/9/11, Mexicali, Teaneck, NY

The snoe.down Wook Flu left in it's wake, a monumentally wretched and terrible mood that only lifted with a Magical Curse-Breaking Hug from one Lo Faber.

And that's how this review is gonna start. Instant better. There was some pre-show shmoozing and eventually Lo Faber & Aaron Maxwell hit the stage to thunderous applause. The same I imagine, as Charlie Sheen received at Radio City. Dos Heteros started off with the beautiful Blues standard Poor Boy Long Way Home to warm up the room. Then came the sparks. A comforting Weird Dream (niiice!). Gretchen, Electrocute, Ballroom- awesome. It was good to hear the boys again. It's been too long (February). Northern Sky (debut of a Nick Drake song) was sweet and moody. Run To You was oozing with goodness. Edgar's Back In Town was cute.

At some point around now, they wanted to know if anyone had requests and there were numerous shouts from around the room. I've been fruitlessly requesting something for 15+ years, but yelling it at that particular moment was more about having a response to bug them with. "New Eyes!" It's one of my very favorite (and unfortunately incredibly rare) God Street Wine tunes. There's always been a faded hope, but it didn't seem realistic until they broke out Edgar's back at Joe's Pub. I caught at least 1 smirk before someone else screamed for Fortress. Their ears perked, they repeated in unison, "Fortress...", like they had yet to even consider it.

This may have been when they played a wonderful Strange As It Seems (or was all the screaming before Edgar's?). No matter.

The intro for the next song was kept slightly cryptic, but it all added up quickly to me. A song they haven't played in over 15 years. A song they never really learned how to play in the first place. No. It couldn't be. They wouldn't---- as a duo?? A song they were playing for me? My jaw dropped. I believe this is what The Britains refer to as being "gobsmacked". Rendered speechless because Lo & Aaron were about to play NEW EYES. I just stood there in shock. They were gonna play New Eyes. THEY FUCKING PLAYED NEW EYES. They fucking played New Eyes and I stood there smiling like a fool, while actually holding back tears. And it was SO SO GOOD!!!!! It's such a fast moving song, with so many changes- and they fucking nailed it with amazing energy and precision. Like they had even practiced! When the song peaked and they hit the chorus, there was a table full of cheers from the House Right side of the room. It was spectacular.

I'd say that they have no idea how much hearing that meant to me, but the only reason they would ever finally pull that nugget out was because they knew exactly how much it meant to me. So if you're reading this, guys (and Weiss too, cuz I'm sure he had something to do with it) -- again-- thank you. It meant the world to me. I really needed that.

Those bastards. 15+ years of harassment ends in success. What the hell am I supposed to request now? Eh, who are we kidding, I'll keep requesting New Eyes^. In fact, I'd love to hear it at Joe's Pub in May. All quartet-like (though Jason Crosby could shred on it too).

You'd think it'd be a blur from that point on. There was definitely a Post New Eyes Buzz happening, but I was still mentally at the show. Dos Heteros totally ripped through a beautiful Waiting For the Tide and completely tore up a high-energy Nightingale. The dueling guitar section towards the end was absolutely wild and inspired. Crazy good Madness.

They premiered Pancho + Lefty (Lo on vocals), a howling cowboy ballad, written by Townes Van Zandt, but covered by the likes of Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, & Emmylou Harris. It's really freakin' cool to see what covers they pepper into their sets. It's both a peak into Dos Heteros psyche and a music history lesson. My Babe (Aaron on vocals) as well, was fun, bouncy, and spectacular.

Wendy rocked. Molly grooved. Thirsty cleansed the palate.

Lizzy Loves from the band Reflections (who were playing the late set) sang backup for the last 3 songs: Dead Flowers (how can you lose?), Dark Hollow (reeeeaaaaally nice to hear Lo sing this again), and Swing Low (mmhmmm).

A round of thank you's, goodbyes, more hugs, and I went back to my sister's Bachelorette Party, which I had very mysteriously snuck out of a few hours earlier. Don't judge me, you won't win.

Aaron's iPad/teleprompter was strapped to his mic stand for the whole set-- it gets closer to his face with every show. However, it seems that the closer it gets, the more they actually "get creative" with the lyrics. So, perhaps leave it at the bar and see what happens?

In totally random Jersey News, Snooki Lohan's mom was there, doing what looked to be a photo shoot for the cover of Steppin' Out.

Budke's kids were sick (way to go, Budke) and he couldn't go, so there's currently no archive DL link to direct you to. There is rumored to be a single recording of this show, but I haven't seen or heard anything yet. It would be a damn shame if it doesn't exist, but this show could then become the Stuff of Legend. Or I could totally be lying about the whole fucking thing-- you'd have no idea, YOU FOOLS!

The boys were totally busting to play, I think the 6 weeks off was too much for them. You could tell they felt great up there. Seeing them on a regular basis is like eating really good pudding. When was the last time you had great pudding? WTF do you have against pudding anyways? Get over it.

Lo Faber & Aaron Maxwell (aka Dos Heteros), 4/9/11, Mexicali, Teaneck, NJ: 10 HUZZAHS!!!! NEW EYES, MOTHERFUCKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Poor Boy Long Way Home
Weird Dream
Northern Sky
Run To You
Edgar's Back In Town
Strange As It Seems
New Eyes
Pancho + Lefty
My Babe
Dead Flowers*
Dark Hollow*
Swing Low*

* w/ Lizzy Loves on vocals

Thank you to Weiss for the setlist and for whatever he had to do with the New Eyes.

UPDATE: DOWNLOAD THE SHOW!! WOOOOOT! Thanks for securing this, Weiss, etc.!


^ and 6:15, and Dirty Little Secret, and Watcha Gonna Do About It?, and Miss Leonardo.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

snoe.down, 3/25-27/11, Killington/Rutland, VT

snoe.down, 3/25-27/11, Killington & Rutland, VT

"Who knew Dave going to jail wouldn't be the craziest shit
that happened all weekend?"

DISCLAIMER: Most of us know someone with Mental Illness. It could be a family member, a friend, or even the troll living in your garbage disposal (sweater vest or not, I don't trust him). Mental illness is an incredibly serious medical condition that should be handled in an incredibly delicate fashion, but ultimately-- by Professionals. Which is exactly what happened. But in order for me to share this Tale with you (because it's awesome), you're gonna need to give me the freedom to have some fun with the unfortunate path that someone (who you don't know) took on their way to a total psychotic meltdown. Shit, it'll be educational if you've never seen it yourself. Learn the signs, folks. Having actually been at the receiving end of someone's psychotic breakdown over a decade ago at the very first moe.down (and not having a blog at that time), writing about this for the first time is actually kind of therapeutic, because I was severely traumatized during that particular incident. The same goes for some of my friends during last week's snoe.down-capades. Anyways, don't judge us, and gimme a fucking break-- all this crazy shit goes down and you expect me to not write about it? You don't pay me enough, you fuckerrrrs.

Fear and Loathing in Rut Vegas
A Foul Journey To the Heart of the moe.ronian Dream

THURSDAY, 3/24/11

It was finally Thursday!! Oh how the weeks had d-r-a-g-g-e-d by. For the 2 weeks leading up to snoe.down, I was on a gig that totally messed up my body clock. Awake at noon, working til 6 or 7:30AM. Daylight Savings was like a tab of acid on top of an already volatile situation. Yesterday was tomorrow, Monday was next week. I may as well have crossed the International Time Line standing on my head wearing night-vision goggles. Anyways: rare form. It was time to really blow off some steam and rock the fuck out of snoe.down. I needed it.

El Herno and I hippie-carpooled, hitting the road in the early evening, landing in Rut Vegas around 9PM. We burned and pillaged the Hannafords on Rt. 7 for any last minute supplies (bananas, edamame, beer, pie, etc.) before heading to the mountain. Yarrr!

Our phatty Pinnacle condo on the mountain was totes phatty and our running crew were waiting for us with open arms. Ahh, snoe.down! We all had interest in seeing Twiddle and/or The Brew, but that was trumped by priorities: the Thursday night relaxation we'd need to make it through the entire weekend. Skiing/Riding is exhausting, live music is exhausting, combining the two is a massive physical undertaking. It was going to take at least a week to recover. Sara, Hern, and I were hitting the mountain in the early AM. I should mention here that we walked in and Sara was already coughing up a storm of germs. "Hey roomie!" This is the exact moment I was infected with The Spartan Wookiebola. Maybe the cold mountain air would clear it up? Not likely.

We drank. It all seemed so normal. Were we just being naive?

I finally went to bed around 4AM. Matt and Dave were passed out on the couch snoring with NASCAR on at full volume. Matt, you have Sleep Apnea.

FRIDAY, 3/25/11

Annnd back up at 8AM, braceleted & on the slopes by 9:30AM. Totally fucked, but totally worth it-- cuz the conditions were freakin' STELLAR!!!! Fresh powder and it was flurrying! At least a couple of inches to float on! The conditions in the K1 area were a shit-ton better than the Bear Mtn side, so we mostly stuck there. That is also the reason we didn't check out Dangermuffin in the Bear Lodge. We eventually made our way alllll the way over to the Snowden Quad (can they officially change this to "The snoe.down Quad" for the entire fest next year?) where conditions were totes fresh and the trails were practically EMPTY. It was a sweet day to be playing outside!

The London Souls were at K1, so we went in for alcohol and food (in that order). This year the K1 bands were in a separate room from the main lodge. We attempted to walk into said room, but it was so deafeningly loud that we said "fuck this" and turned right around. Sorry, London Souls. After Lunch, Sara- our little Outbreak Monkey, decided she wasn't feeling well enough to go back out. Ho, ho! Diseased! Hern only had a couple of runs left in him and then he retired to watch The Brew. I had the opposite problem. I did attempt to come in for The Brew-- and when I walked in, they were playing the Price Is Right theme song, which was pretty damn spectacular-- they tore it up! However, being inside at a Mountain was starting to drive me batty and I almost immediately went back outside to play til the end of the day. It was awesome. I love snoe.down.

Later on, back at the condo, we re-told the Tale of the Great Gincident of snoe.down 2010. In which our hero, El Herno, was nearly defeated by a bottle of Sapphire and left for dead outside the "K-Mort" while we were inside enjoying the 2nd set.
The Gincident, 2010

We have pretty much ridden his ass about it ever since. But he learned his lesson and this year he had even volunteered to be the Designated Driver on Friday! Totes responsible! Amy meanwhile, had apparently started feeding vodka to Dave.

Sara cleverly disguised the gin this year, just in case.

In fact, by the time we got to the arena, 85%^ of our condo occupants were completely lit. I made my way up front to scout out chuck.side but it was a total shit-show up there. Adding to the fun was no less than 10 guys trying to pick me up between the chuck.side stacks and rob's mic. One asshole even put his hands around my waist. "Get the fuck off me and if you touch me again I will punch you in the face-- no, really, I'll totally punch you in the face." Kids.

Eventually the running crew had converged upon the area and Set 1 began with a fantastic Stranger Than Fiction. 3 months between moe. shows felt like an eternity, but the timing of snoe.down felt just right. It was a Northeast crowd and the boys were back home. "Dirty" is a great word to describe this set. It was all stellar and there was an aggressive jamming element present throughout. Time Again, sick loud Dr. G -> the best Paper Dragon I've heard yet. It was raw and loud, they nailed it and the crowd let them know. Wowza. Immense energy and then Mar-Dema -> hard rockin' Bearsong to push it over the edge. It was one of those "THAT WAS ONLY THE FIRST SET?!?" kinda sets. Awesome.

I'm pretty sure Dave went missing during the first set, but it could have been the second. The timing is unclear (flask of tequila). The last time I saw him, he was headed for the beer line and having a hard time speaking clearly. Odds of a sequel to The Gincident were increasing every minute he was gone. Though, he had left his cell phone in the condo, so there weren't any fun texts or voicemails to check (and save). Gincident II: Son of Gincident! We held the positive attitude that he was a Professional and would show up at some point. Or not. NEW snoe.down RULE: everyone brings their cell phones to the show!

Set 2 started back up with a lovely Haze -> Wormwood -> Okayalright with Keller Williams. My attention span kinda went out the door. I started wandering around and took pics for the next few songs. The Harder They Come also with Keller. Cute, but I guess that meant Ryan Montbleau wouldn't be joining them for it on Saturday. Puebla pulled me back in. Pretty, dark, and moody -> a fun Kyle's Song that riled the energy back up in the room -> a killer George to close the set. Dark and heavy. Good stuff. They encored with a great Buster and kablammo! Time to head back to the Mountain! Or not! Where's Dave? Dave's not here, man.

We combed over the arena, the parking lot. Jen took on the task of speaking to the State Troopers, the Sheriff's Department, the EMS folks (Jen = GOLD STAR AWARD). No Dave. None of them had him. We drove around the parking lot for a few minutes with no luck. Eventually Jen called the right person at the right place, cuz they were able to tell us exactly where Dave was: Jail. From my understanding, there were so many people brought to the "drunk tank"/"halfway house"/"mission", that all the overflow were put in jail (not technically arrested). Why no one could tell us this at the very beginning is still beyond me. Our hopes that as with The Gincident, a kindly Officer of the Law had placed Dave back on the shuttle to the Mountain were slightly crushed, but we were incredibly relieved he was inside and not passed out in the parking lot somewhere. We hoped to see him tomorrow.

We went home. This totally put The Gincident to shame and El Herno was *ecstatic*. Seriously-- he was glowing.

When we got "home", an acquaintance of one of our Running Crew (a total stranger to the rest of us) answered the door. She had been offered a place to stay after calling in a panic earlier in the evening. We'll just call her Lucy^^. Lucy answered the door and it begun.

I was heating up some garlic tea (trying to be pro-active about the Immune Boost) at approximately 2:30AM when I heard an angry voice from the area of the living room couch telling me to shut off the kitchen light. Um, No? Kinda using it. The sound of hyperventilation and stomping soon followed and Lucy began to pace back and forth in the hallway, flipping lightswitches. Okay. I made extra sure to tightly close the 2 doors that separated me from the scary person who had inhabited our first floor (which included a kitchen drawer full of sharp knives, oh joy!).

3/25/11, Spartan Arena, Rutland, VT
Set 1: Stranger Than Fiction, Time Again, Dr. Graffenberg > Paper Dragon, Mar-Dema > Bearsong
Set 2: Haze > Wormwood > Okayalright*, The Harder They Come*, Puebla > Kyle's Song > George
Encore: Buster
*w/ Keller Williams on guitar & vox

DOWNLOAD THE SHOW! All DL links are Mike Salvo's recordings-- thanks, Salvo!

SATURDAY, 3/26/11

8:30AM. Jen was already on the phone with the Rutland jail, but they wouldn't release Dave until he blew a max of .08 on the breathilizer... and he kept failing. Hahaha awesome!

Fearing shitty conditions, I never bought a discounted lift ticket for Saturday- and should have, cuz I totally would have braved the Wind Warning to get in a full morning on the mountain. Alas, by the time we got to Bear Base it was 11AM and Ryan Montbleau Band was opening the big stage at 12:30PM. So it goes. The good news is that I got to see a full set of Ryan Montbleau Band! Winning! Hern, Sara, & Leeeza tried to cram in as many runs as possible and still catch RMB. The rest of us started drinking. Happy snoe.down, everyone! Did anyone else notice that Lucy is wearing nothing on her feet but flip-flops (no socks) and walking around in the snow? I don't get it, she's a Sherpa?

I was psyched to see Ryan Montbleau Band again. Big news was that their viola player Laurence Scudder left "to pursue other musical interests" and there was a new guitarist, Lyle Brewer. Since I've only seen RMB a handful of times, I was pretty sure this wouldn't effect my opinion. Shit, I may like them even better now. New Guy totally shreds. RMB is fun, sweet, bouncy- it's their thang. They did the Juicy Fruit theme song. Nice. The wind had really picked up but they rocked it out and kept everyone dancing/warm. Pretty sure the heat lamps onstage were doing very little to combat the vicious 30mph gusts. snoe.down! Ryan Montbleau Band rocked & definitely made some new fans. Awesome placement for them!

The place really filled in for moe.'s afternoon set and out came the boys, completely bundled up, braving the whipping cold to entertain us. al had on a helmet-cam & jim looked like a ninja. Play for us, monkeys! It was a great set, but sometimes not loud enough. Some of the songs immediately yearn for a dark dark room. Akimbo (definitely not loud enough), Threw It All Away (so so dark, *love* it), It (shreddin'), Billy Goat (super catchy), Downward Facing Dog (that 2nd half just grabs you by the balls and forces you to rock out), Happy Hour Hero (a refreshing treat on this gorgeous day) -> SOMP (bouncy and fun). Crab Eyes Encore and yah, we all had wind burn by now. Killer set, awesome vibes! Sounded like chuck ripped one of his cold sausage fingers open on a guitar string. Blood everywhere. Horrible disfigurement. So brave!

Halfway through the set, who finds us? None other than Dave! Finally out of jail and he had made the afternoon set!!! YAAAAAAY! SWEET HORRIBLE FAREEEDOMMMM! We were all incredibly relieved to see he hadn't been made anyone's bitch, because that was gonna be our new job. NEW snoe.down RULE: No vodka for Dave!!

"I thought I was having a great time, until I woke up in jail." - Dave

Hern decided to ride during the moe. set, cuz it was only his 2nd day out this season. He was able to hear them about 2/3 of the time-- on the lifts and when he came down to a certain turn in the trails. I did this for the start of the set last year and it was really quite entertaining. I remember trying really hard to not hurt myself cuz it would have been mortifying to be strapped to a board and taken off the mountain by a snowmobile with strobe/siren action in front of all of snoe.down AND miss the duration of the moe. set. Talk about shit luck. snoe.down is fucking awesome.

moe., 3/26/11, Bear Mtn Base, Killington, VT
Akimbo, Threw It All Away, It, Billy Goat, Downward Facing Dog, Happy Hour Hero > Seat Of My Pants
Encore: Crab Eyes


*** when the Ryan Montbleau Band setlist & recording go up, the link will be HERE ***

Lucy's behavior through the day had become increasingly erratic and aggressive. The incidents had started to pile up. She not only ate Hern's entire loaf of homemade bread, but she was also doing stuff like standing in the corner, yelling at & kicking the wall. Soooo, that's the kind of range we were dealing with. At a certain point our concerns became less funny ha ha and the switch was officially toggled into the "genuinely concerned for everyone's safety because this will not end well" position. We handled it very delicately. She was refusing to seek medical help. We had The Fear. The signs were all there. We were really uncomfortable and to be perfectly frank, none of us trusted her to be alone in the condo (with all our stuff) while we were at the moe. show that night (she was not planning on going). Hunter S. Thompson taught us to never turn our back on a drug. Let me add to that and say: Never turn your back on a chemical imbalance. It's too dangerous. She needed to leave. Or immediately move into the storage locker outside. What I'm saying is there was a choice. A complimentary (for her) hotel room near her friends was arranged for (in the hopes it might settle her down) and she was escorted from the premises, very excited to have access to a swimming pool and hot tub. We had the keys changed.

And now, a special feature here on the
Dramatic Re-enactments with El Herno, EPS #1A/Pilot

This was turning into the weirdest weekend. I mean we've done a lot of festivals, but the ridiculous formula of events materializing before us basically left us slack-jawed and glassy eyed. Words no longer had to be exchanged, because a blank look was enough to express whatever this unique feeling was that we were sharing as a group.

Hoping the worst was behind us, we kept our Professional Pants on and continued to enjoy the fuck out of our snoe.down weekend. Nothing that had happened had even slightly altered the path of how awesome the weekend was--- it was really just making it weirder, therefore -> awesomer. After all, these little speed bump adventures always make for such great storylines.

Saturday night in Rut Vegas. Shit yeah. Did you see the purple flamingos in the Kmart Gardening Center? Let's do this!

Saturday night was more crowded and the body heat from the night before never dissipated. It was gonna be a sticky hockey rink kinda night. We waited in the bathroom line forever and missed the first chunk of Yodelittle but as soon as we stepped into the rink, I felt the love. -> a dark and soulful Lazarus, awesome. Suck A Lemon, chuck's new tune which is part Beatles, part psychedelic 70's Glam Rock, and part Shredding Guitar God Rock. Love it! And the message is Universal! Suck A Lemon if you've never tried and chase the thoughts that multiply. You've got bats in the belfry and a rhino-hide to protect you from the world outside. -> Hector's Pillow, which I just listened to again, and it actually lowered my blood pressure (you see I've been stuck inside with the Spartan Wookiebola for days and have developed a side-case of the Cabin Fever) -> a fucking ridiculously heavy and hard-hitting meat to close out the set. Holy shit. Talk about an old school style moe. set. 5 songs, ~76 minutes of Shredding Guitar Rock. Felt like I was gonna walk out of Wetlands by the end of the night. "THAT WAS ONLY THE FIRST SET?!?"

Setbreak and everyone was accounted for! Who knew it could be like this?

Set 2! The Spartan Arena was one gigantic party of sweaty exhausted moe.rons with wind burn! And we were ready for more. It's special to constantly run into your random moe.ron friends scattered around the same rink. The Festival Vibe was all there. The Road was rockin' sweet but when Blue Jeans Pizza started I went to wander and take pics -> bathroom and actually ran into both Jen and Amy. "You pee during this song? I pee during this song! I love you guys!!"

-> Sticks and Stones as we walked back into the rink. "You guys wanna go stand in front of chuck?" "Yes." So we went and stood in front of chuck. That easy. And we fucking deserved it. NYC got us settled into our spot and my attention span was dwindling, but then: Skrunk brought me right back! Guitars were SHREDDING. -> still rockin' Yodelittle -> a sweet & sentimental & wonderful Rebubula, tons of love & a crowd singalong..

A fun Spine -> Plane Crash (which I tried to enjoy as per the usual) Encore. TOTES awesome jams in the middle, etc.. The guys were showing off. A giant thank you to their loyal minions, it was good stuff. Smiles all around. Love it.

It was so hot in there.
(How hot was it?)
It was so hot in there, that even Satan's glasses were sliding down his nose.

It was hot as fuck in the arena by the end of the show. Exhaustion was a reality.

On the drive back to Killington, a nervous moment in the car when firetrucks with lights flashing, passed us on the road. We were very relieved when they pulled into the Econo Lodge and didn't continue up the road to the mountain. Phew. We arrived at the Pinnacle, stepped out of the car, and spent a few minutes in awe of the amazing night sky. Crystal clear and breathtaking. Breathe deep, friends.

As the Designated Driver, I was incredibly happy to get home and reclaim a buzz. We had a lot of bacon to eat before departure in the AM. And you'd better fucking believe we checked every closet and under every bed to make sure no one had snuck in (or left a stack of Barbra Streisand drawings in the gas fireplace).

3/26/11, Spartan Arena, Rutland, VT
Set 1: Yodelittle > Lazarus, Suck A Lemon > Hector's Pillow > Meat
Set 2: The Road, Blue Jeans Pizza > Sticks and Stones, New York City, Skrunk > Yodelittle > Rebubula
Encore: Spine Of A Dog > Plane Crash


SUNDAY, 3/27/11

Tried to sleep late, got kicked out at 10:30AM. With the morning, came the unfortunate news that Lucy had a total breakdown on the mountain (while skiing with her friends), was physically restrained by Ski Patrol, and immediately brought to the Hospital ER for medical treatment. We were all incredibly relieved that it didn't happen with us, in our condo. And of course, that she was now in a safe place, hopefully getting the treatment she needed. Wow. Fucking seriously.

Brunch anyone?

We were all still a bit on edge. The Weirdness seemed to be over, but when I pulled into the Wobbly Barn parking lot, al schnier tried to carjack me! Instead, he settled for some chocolate chip cookies-- but you should have seen the crazed look in those blue eyes, like he might shiv a bitch.

Last year's brunch menu was totally disappointing, so we immediately hit the bakery across the street for coffee, etc. Once again, the Wobbly Barn did not smell of delicious bacony goodness upon entry. Totes lame. You call this a brunch? No bacon-- why bother? What am I supposed to throw at the band? Salmon??

People were barely standing at this point. It was rough. It was time to power through. Acoustical moe. helped us along & made it worth it. That Country Tune (yaaaay, so sweet), Nebraska, Can't Seem To Find (psyched, cuz earlier in the week I was wondering when the last time I heard this was), which was fucking great. -> St. Augustine (singalong), Wildflowers (slightly mutilated, but the sentiment was all there), Shoot First (chuck! chuck! chuck!), Punchline (perfect for this setting), Blue Eyed Son!!!!!!!!!!!! Another I was wondering about earlier in the week! Very cute too, as al kept looking over at his son while singing. Four, beautiful, moody brunch music. A bouncy Tambourine -> the hooky Deep This Time to close the set.

The guys walked off for the encore and no one clapped. HAHAHA I love it! We were all too fucking tired and jaded. Encores are essentially obligatory, yes? Eventually after like 4 minutes of silence, they came back out-- no questions asked. They answered with Gone, which was absolutely perfect and they do not play enough (but I suppose that makes it more special). It truly hit the spot. "I am done, take me home." Exactly. moe., I love you guys. A fun Captain America closed the festival. It would also boost our energy levels enough so we'd leave. Great afternoon set to help slowly re-acclimate us back into society!

Everyone said their goodbyes. Old friends, new friends, new adventures now ingrained in our skulls to laugh about for years. We all shared a few more slack-jawed, glassy-eyed, blank looks-- shook our heads in disbelief, and laughed our asses off before driving the Speed Limit (as quickly as possible) out of town.

3/27/11, Wobbly Barn (Acoustical Brunch), Killington, VT
That Country Tune, Nebraska, Can't Seem To Find > St. Augustine, Wildflowers, Shoot First, Waiting For The Punchline, Blue Eyed Son, Four, Tambourine > Deep This Time
Encore: Gone, Captain America


What a twisted fucking snoe.down. Totes cereal. And really, who knew that Dave going to jail wouldn't be the craziest shit that happened all weekend? Fuckin' A. What's a Gincident?

Amazing, demented, mutated, EPIC snoe.down adventure. Great skiing, great music. I'm still exhausted. And sick. Fucking Wook Flu. This phlegm is impressive. I've redecorated a number of shirtsleeves which has been pretty hysterical. A picture here would have been too gross, no? Homemade Have-A-Heart Trap, anyone? Next year each VIP ticket should come with a Z-Pak (alongside the greater sense of self-worth).

snoe.down 2011, 3/25-27/11, Killington/Rutland, VT: 9 HUZZAAAAAHS! Thanks, moe.. You guys are swell. I *totally* needed that.

... bought my moe.down ticket the other day.

UPDATE: Lucy was treated and released by the hospital after a short stay. Hopefully she is continuing with the medical attention she needs. We really do genuinely wish her the best of health & luck in the future. Fuck me if she ever reads this.


^ Todd Snider says 60% of the world's statistics are made up right there on the spot.
^^ Names have been changed, most details have been omitted or glossed over.