Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Phish, 9/14/11, A Benefit for VT Flood Recovery

Phish, 9/14/11, A Benefit for VT Flood Recovery,
Champlain Valley Expo Center, Essex Junction, VT

Shit man, I started a new gig last week and never had time to review this show the way I wanted, but here's the gist. 2 weeks ago, Phish played their first show in Vermont since that wretched Coventry disaster back in 2004. The concert was pulled together as a benefit for Vermont Flood Disaster Relief, after that cunt, Hurricane Irene, came through, causing flash floods that destroyed anything in the vicinity of a river, brook, or creek- including roads, bridges, houses, farmland, businesses, downtowns, yards, etc.. Towns became islands and people’s lives were washed away in a matter of minutes. Vermont’s microclimates are not meant for Tropical Storms. It’s a FACT.

The Champlain Valley Exposition Center is a smallish venue (the VT State Fair is held there) with a 12k capacity, so I didn't think I'd actually score lotto tickets for this, but I freakin’ did, so I was all, "Ohh, poor me, I gotta drive to Burlington on Wednesday and hang out with my friends to do charity work! TOTES WAAAH!"

There was a ton of traffic and lots of happy people heading into to the Expo, where I almost nearly saw Def Leppard play in 98 or 99 during my UVM days, but no one would go with me for that cuz, 1) no one gave a shit- Def Leppard in VT in the late 90's?? and 2) then it started raining and I was like, "they aren't gonna beat that show in Jersey I saw when I was 13 when Jon Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora came out to ‘jam’ on Wanted Dead or Alive, so I'll just go get drunk at VPB instead.” Which I most certainly did, yes.

But this is a Phish review. The vibe for miles around the Expo was love and chill. It was a total clusterphuck trying to get into the venue, but everyone was so psyched for the last minute show, it didn’t matter. From the line, we listened to Governor Shumlin and Mike Gordon talk about the massive destruction that Hurricane Irene caused in the wonderful state of Vermont, how people have pulled together for strength, and then they thanked us all for coming. MY PLEASURE.

I had already run into a handful of friends in the lot, but upon entering, I ran into even more. The place was packed with my VT running crew and it was just flat out fantastic to see such an intimate Phish show with all of ‘em. While the field was crowded, I had no desire to push forward to get to the stage, cuz I was totally content hanging with my peeps wherever we landed. Shit yeah.

Some folks were picking apart the setlist, but it wasn’t really a concern of mine. Many expected full on Gamehenge. Realistically, I saw this show as an addition to the Summer Tour. I prepared myself for hearing YEM, Prince Caspian, and Free, but if I had to suffer through those this time around, at least it’d be for a good cause. They played none of these things-- of course there’s always that damn Rock and Roll to contend with, but whatever. It wasn’t about the setlist.

Which brings me to the main point of this review: no, this wasn't the greatest Phish show of all time, but the crazy love and energy in the air made it into a fucking amazing and magical night IN Vermont, FOR Vermont. A hometown gig for a great cause. You can’t get more genuine than that. The practically-Full-Moon and gigantic glowing Jupiter hovering above only added to that magic. Gorgeous.

HIGHLIGHTS: Funky Bitch, Cavern, Bathtub Gin, Alaska, Wolfman’s -> Julius. Carini -> Down with Disease was TOTALLY SICK AND AWESOME. Sweet baby Cheesus, I love Carini!!! Made all the more dark by Chris Kuroda, who is a fucking Evil Genius. Theme From the Bottom was stellar, and Loving Cup just topped it all off with a frothy foam of good vibes (the foam is the best part!).

They chose songs with appropriate themes: VT (“a picture of Nectar”), water (the crowd offered a more spirited than usual “and we love to take a bath!”), and/or hurricane related lyrics (“It’s like a cross between a Hurricane, and a ship that’s run aground.”), and every time they hit one of these points, a wave of excitement and goosebumps ran through the audience. There was absolutely no mistaking the love and energy that combined to make this night so special. My one complaint was that the ice cream stand didn’t have any sprinkles. WHAT THE SHIT, EXPO??? Don’t make me ask for Jimmies! I WILL NEVER ASK FOR JIMMIES.

A quick visit to the merch booth for an adorable Phish VT Flood Relief t-shirt and hoodie (the logo featured a classic pair of rubber boots) made this some of the easiest charity work I’ve ever done. All proceeds, including merch, and webcast-streams, raised over $1.2 Million for VT Flood Relief. Not to mention all the money pumped into the local economy by thousands of VT’ers and out-of-Staters from as far away as Colorado & California (hotels and restaurants were packed!). Additionally, the Police stated that the Phish fans were the most pleasant crowd they’ve ever had to deal with, so-- way to keep the good vibes flowing in the community, hippies! Hopefully we’ll be welcomed back with open arms!

Thursday late-morning/early-afternoon was the icing on the cake, as I had a wonderful Sneakers brunch, complete with old friends, new friends, and a delicious Bloody Mary. My drive home later that day featured a patented Western VT Sunset Over the Adirondacks- my favorite kind. What a fucking fantastic last-minute trip!

Thanks again to hippie bands like Phish for making grueling charity work not only enjoyable, but also completely accessible. Loads of love to my home-away-from-home, Vermont. I hope the land, people, and infrastructure recover sooner rather than later! See you this Winter! Let's hope for snow next time around! Phish, 9/14/11, A Benefit for VT Flood Recovery: 10 HUZZAHS!!!

TO DONATE to VT Flood Relief via the Waterwheel Foundation:

Set 1: Chalk Dust Torture, The Moma Dance > NICU, Funky Bitch, Sample in a Jar, Cavern, Bathtub Gin, Alaska > Possum, Wolfman's Brother > Julius
Set 2: Carini > Down with Disease > Slave to the Traffic Light > Rock and Roll > Twist > Backwards Down the Number Line, Theme From the Bottom > Suzy Greenberg > Character Zero
Encore: Loving Cup

SLIDESHOW & PICS (mostly of my friends)


Sunday, September 18, 2011

moe.down xii, 9/2, 3, & 4/11, Gelston Castle Estate, moe.hawk, NY

moe.down xii, 9/2, 3, 4/11, Gelston Castle Estate, moe.hawk, NY

DISCLAIMER: I do not remember all the music at moe.down xii. Let's just get that out of the way right now.

FRIDAY, 9/2/11

Thursday's important pre-.down sleep was stunted by excitement, adrenaline, and some serious stress about dealing with the motherfucking hill loading-in from parking lot #1 to the campsite. Last year it landed me some Heat Stroke and a Migraine, which is everyone's favorite way to start a Festival Weekend. Pre-.down last year, no one had mentioned any mountai-- hills at the new venue, so we did it up as per the usual and paid dearly for it. The crew packed lighter & smarter this year, while still allowing for all proper supplies that go along with a Late Summer / Early Fall / All Climate / Rain or Shine festival like moe.down. I bagged the EZ Up and turned to my trusty (and much lighter) tarp/pole system. I had everything I needed, except for my flask, which was accidentally left sitting upside-down in the drainboard at home. Fuck. Note to self: next year put FLASK on the list!

We were at the gates by 9AM and spent about 10 minutes in line before being corralled along the already-muddy path to Parking Area #1. It was time for our v1 trip up the infamous Trail of Tears. We were a'scurred. No, really. This year, the initial path up the hill was wider, flatter, and had no loose gravel, which did help (last year it was really hard to get footing on the gravel, and seeing how my wagon weighed more than me on 2 of the trips, Gravity won that battle). I wondered if this path-development was done on purpose or was actually just carved out by Hurricane Irene the previous week. Also helping this year-- I asked one of the boys to just do the initial hill climb portion with the wagon for me. Thanks, guys. Chivalry ain't dead.

And then came the "Fascist Security Checkpoint", which was still incredibly thorough this year, and at 9:30AM was bottlenecked with at least one full hour's wait to get into the campsite. Fucking seriously. An hour. Dude's going through wallets, blah blah blah. Sunblock's a good thing, people. By the time we got through, once again, the area mapped on the official moe. map as the "Quiet Side", which is the closest area to the entrance/exit gate--- was pretty much full and looking (again) like it wasn't gonna be so quiet. That map is so full of lies, your brain asplode. This year, we had a location plan. It took a little bit of walking, but after crossing past the vendors in the main intersection, walking and walking, there was high ground & plenty of peaceful acreage as far as the eye could see. You know why? Cuz after the fucking Trail of Tears, no one wants to walk that far. But those of us who did, were definitely rewarded, cuz we had a great little neighborhood that filled in around our cul-de-sac, despite the no less than 3 Grateful Dead cover bands in the immediate vicinity.

You can imagine how psyched we were when with the help of abundant Teamwork (and a ground softened by 6-10 inches of rain in the previous week that made using a mallet overkill), we were all loaded-in and set up before 1PM. Ben gets the **moe.down xii MVP** Award for taking at least 37 trips to the cars to help everyone with his handy wheelbarrow-- Ben also runs marathons. This gave us plenty of time to rest, eat, shower, and rest, in attempt to conquer the OTHER hill-- that motherfucker inside the venue, with the stages at the bottom, which we'd have to contend with all weekend. I'm not in terrible physical condition, but that fucking hill is a monster, especially after the haul of load-in. Eyeing the schedule, I realistically mapped out which bands I'd be watching from the top of it. I planned on watching every moe. set at the bottom, and in order to physically make that happen, I'd have to prioritize trips and enjoy bands from the top. That kinda sucks.

moe.down MVP, Ben!

Shit, speaking of music! We could hear funky mop topped Brits The New Mastersounds okay from camp, so we didn't get off our tired asses and head in for music until Ween. For yeeeears, I've been saying Ween should play the .down, and I'm so glad they finally did! What a spectacularly fun set! Perfectly designed for the crowd, focused Rock, jammy bits, and high energy. Ween shredded the fuck out of their 90 minutes. It's great to see those boys healthy and happy. It was also the closest I've ever gotten to the stage at a Ween show, because I'm usually too afraid of drunk hippie-hating assholes who shove me around and may potentially punch me in the face when they realize I'm wearing a Phish t shirt. Luckily, this was a friendly moe.Ween crowd, lots of love, shared brown vibes, understanding, ample elbow room, and very little (if any) violence. Also, I was not wearing a Phish t shirt.

After a New Mastersounds set that I do not recall (probably my own fault), moe. took the stage! People were psyched and they scorched their first set of moe.down xii. Highlights: Down Boy -> Skrunk -> George. A fucking fantastic Where Does the Time Go. The nostalgia in the air went to 12. -> a fierce Dr. G., sweet Deep This Time -> a mind shredding 32 Things. FUCK YEAH. 1st set had me PUMPED. Holy shit did my feet hurt. The second they started the Plane Crash encore, I used it as my cue to start walking back. I aimed for either camp or a grilled cheese, I can't be certain at this time. Whatever it was, the crew were all psyched for what was a sick start to moe.down xii. That set got us all sorts of FIRED UP and we were ready for more! Just as soon as it was safe to take some more Advil.

I heart Chuck.

and I miss Rob's hair.

Captain America, Down Boy > Skrunk -> George, Where does the Time Go -> Dr. Graffenberg, Deep This Time -> 32 Things

Plane Crash

DOWNLOAD THE SET! (Thanks, Scott Bernstein!):

SATURDAY, 9/3/11

Saturday began comfortably. The weather was nice, the Hood was pleasant, and Railroad Earth were gonna rock a morning set. The crew slowly crawled out of their caves and began to motivate. Dave's Mini-Donuts/Dani's Magic Beans (in the turquoise booth near the mansion), was serving The Best Coffee in all of moe.ville throughout the weekend. They were also giving away free samples of their made-to-order delectable Apple Cider Mini Donuts. And of course, the Loaded Grilled Cheese, which they will customize by say, leaving out the middle layer of bread, so you can fill up on the doubled amount of cheese, bacon, and tomatoes instead of extraneous wheat. YESSSS. Smashing!

The acoustics at the top of the hill are pretty good and Railroad Earth rocked, but watching from the top of the hill removes you from at least half the energy that any band is pumping out from the stage. Call me old, but I still enjoyed the set from the comfort of the top with my fresh cup of coffee. Besides, I needed alcohol in me before taking that first trip down -> rock out -> back.

Speaking of alcohol, Everyday Heroes Anna & Ling (aka Bog Wook!!! Small world!) were kind enough to grab me a new flask on a trip into town! This was greatly appreciated, as I am allergic to beer, and my supply of strictly medicinal Tequila would need to be administered inside the grounds via an easily stashable vessel. THANK YOU ANNA & LING!!! MAD HUZZAHS!!

moe.'s Saturday afternoon sets are a refreshing jolt of energy to push you through the rest of the weekend. With Friday night's set still fresh in (most of) our minds, the excitement of what would come next was palpable. The answer was a fun, strong, family-friendly afternoon set, complete with a Nebraska themed Kid's Tent Parade. moe.'s Japanese artist friend also joined them for the day set, painting a moe.down/mohawk piece on a wooden board, al.side. This was very fun to watch evolve, especially the moments when Al's shredding guitar solos brought him mere inches from the dude, who would casually look over with a glowing smile. Puebla, Mar DeMa -> Timmy Tucker was some groovin', dark, energetic, fun.

Preparing for impending weather (aka Bob Weir, read on…), moe. had already lowered the top of their stage. Adding to the safety & beauty of it all, there were no backdrops hanging behind the boys to create a sail for high winds. Instead, the crowd got to enjoy a peaceful view of some gorgeous trees on the Estate. At night they were lit very simply- enough to remind you they were there, and they were real. It had quite an elegant effect. Trees rule, brah.

Floodwood, Al & Vin's bluegrassy stomp, took over the side stage as soon as moe.'s set ended. They were a lot of fun/spirited with a certain clarity threaded through the music, and are pretty damn fluid for a brand new band. I'm not so hot on Slightly Stoopid, so it was time for the trek back to camp, to rest up for a long night of more goodness (probably with a quick detour for a Block Factory Tamale, because they were so so good).

If you think I have any clear recollection of what went on until we went back in to see TV On The Radio, you are wrong. Photos indicate a lot of sitting. TV On The Radio were really good, very different, with an interesting tone. It was another set I would have liked to have been down near the stage for, possibly getting my face melted, but did not make the trip. I hate walking up and down that fucking hill, alright? My feet were already swollen and the .down was still young. Don't judge. I definitely enjoyed this set from the top of the hill, undoubtedly with some yummy food. Really wishing for a gondola.

No gondolas appeared. What the eff, Universe? As soon as Good Trip started, we dragged our weary shit-asses back down the mountai-- hill. The hill. It's not so bad. It's fine. What hill? Found some nice real estate on chuck.side for a sweet and rockin' Akimbo. Downward Facing Dog was just fucking dirty. The back half of that song is so balls out. Tubing the River Styx -> The Pit was, as always, fucking evil, and fucking awesome. Goddamn, I love moe.. Haze featured Rob on lead vocals, which I totally dug, but definitely sent a wave of confusion through all of us geeks, as we typically hear Al sing that one. -> a sweet and lovely Rebubula! Love me a moe.down Rebubula!

We spent setbreak getting even better real estate up on chuck.side and ran into some fervent supporters of Screaming Chicken, our chosen moe.ville Mayoral Candidate. One of the dude's Screaming Chicken impersonation was pitch-perfect and dead-on-- he had surely practiced. I had to capture it on film. Please watch the magic in Screaming Chicken Presents: Best of moe.down xii's Caught On Tape moe.ments below! SQUAAAAAAWWWK!!!

Screaming Chicken? Wait, huh? Last year, John "el herno" Hannon (aka, "The Wookie Paul Begala") ran Screaming Chicken for Mayor. As per the usual, a combo-candidate named Chicken McFisty was created, but lost in a fiery blaze of glory to one Rage Lincoln who then managed to spill a beer in Rob's pedals before getting off stage. Later that night, Rage bought a spent Nitrous tank in the campsite cuz he thought it was full, and was never to be heard from again.

Screaming Chicken's 2011 Campaign Team had a lot of fun in the months leading up to the .down, as creating and distributing propaganda was some sort of distraction from our everyday lives and seemed like a fairly easy way to amuse ourselves and annoy other people (done and done!) while ALSO getting ourselves pumped for the .down. However, to be perfectly honest, once we got there, we were more focused on enjoying our weekend with each other (and moe.), as opposed to getting a rubber chicken elected to public office. So it goes! I'll point out here that there was some dude in front of the stage all weekend with a rubber chicken on a stick that had American flags sticking out of it's mouth. We don't know if this was just a patriotic coincidence or one of Screaming Chicken's ardent supporters, but we simultaneously thank them for their devotion and apologize to anyone who's view may have been blocked. Screaming Chicken cannot be held responsible for the actions of it's devoted followers.

"The Wookie Paul Begala"

SET III. WOWZA!!! What a high velocity, turbo powered, incredibly pumped up powerhouse set!! HUGE. Meat -> Don't Fuck w/ Flo -> this is where some dudes in front of me kept calling Lazarus and wouldn't stop insisting upon it for like 2 minutes they wouldn't shut up "OMG LAZARUS" "DUDE THIS IS LAZARUS" "IT'S TOTALLY LAZARUS". I finally butted in for fun, suggesting it was actually an extended tease into Yodelittle--- and then they got TOTES moe.own'd by a girl a minute later, cuz -> A GREAT Yodelittle!! Oh, boys. THEN we got the -> Lazarus-- fucking fantastic! Great combo! Total moe.ron mind fuck! Love it!

I had been kind of nervous about the next time I'd hear Four, ever since my dog passed away in July, fearing the chorus would send me into a fit of bawling. Instead, it was triumphant and beautiful, and I made it through the whole thing (choruses and all) with a good feeling and a smile on my face. So that was awesome. And I miss my Milligan Hound more than anything, but making it through Four without crying = Baby Steps! Suc-cess! Annnd breathe... -> a sweet Buster.

It took about 15+ minutes for them to set up the iPads so they could bust out Crab Eyes for the digital age. It was pretty cool, very silly, and I mostly enjoyed how hard Vin was concentrating while poking the iPad rhythmically. Very cute. I was psyched it didn't end there, because they busted out a totally dark, evil, rockin' Bearsong to close out the night. Fucking HUGE night. I love moe.! Smiles all around!

I realize there are a TON of Deadheads out there and that Sunday would bring a member of the actual real-life Grateful Dead to the .down, but there were 3 Grateful Dead cover bands for every 1 person^ in the campsite. The math I used to figure out that ratio is too mind-bending to get into right now, but the actual numbers are staggering and will give you the chills. Cotton balls muffle the sound, but nothing smothers the sentiment. Still, way better than a Zombie Techno Dance Party.


Rise, St. Augustine, She Sends Me, Nebraska, Puebla, Mar DeMa -> Timmy Tucker, Hi and Lo -> Moth

Good Trip > Akimbo, Blue Jeans Pizza, Downward Facing Dog, Tubing The River Styx > The Pit, Haze -> Rebubula

Meat -> Don't Fuck with Flo -> Yodelittle -> Lazarus, Four -> Buster

Crab Eyes%, Bearsong

% on iPads

DOWNLOAD THE SETS! (Thanks, Christopher McGilvray):

9/4/11, SUNDAY

They installed new faucet controls on all the water stations this year, so instead of your trusty, reliable, old fashioned turning wheel, there were now crazy sci-fi push-buttons. This wouldn't have been such a bummer, but the water pressure coming out of these spouts was like a fucking firehose. I also came away with the impression that I have very weak thumbs-- because the resistance was so high that I could barely press the buttons in at all, and forget about being coordinated enough to fill a water bottle (see footage in Screaming Chicken Presents: Best of moe.down xii's Caught On Tape moe.ments). You should have seen people's toothbrushes go flying! I was very happy to have a Sea-To-Summit Pocket Shower from Campmor, because it only took a wee bit of teamwork to refill, and allowed us to wash our teeth, hands, faces, and hair, without the pesky danger of being maimed/scalped. For something as simple as water pressure, there has to be a main control valve somewhere on the grounds that can be adjusted, yes? Dear moe., please help!

Annnyways, my Sunday began with a fantastic hair-washing via the Pocket Shower, suspended from an EZ Up. What a way to refresh! The weather wasn't looking so hot, and by "hot" I mean "good". It had rained overnight and there were nasty chunks of storm cells oot and aboot. It was fairly obvious that we'd be in rain gear before & beyond nightfall.

Adding to the risk of rain, was the presence of the Legendary Mr. Bob Weir. Ben & Joy swear that there is a black cloud that follows Bobby around, and it's not smoke-- it's shitty weather. They'd first felt his wrath at a Gathering of the Vibes a few years ago and have since become convinced that "Bobby is a warlock who creates rain in order to frighten and disgust festy-goers". The theory was a solid one and it soon became abundantly clear that Bob Weir was responsible for a particularly vicious looking weatherfront now hurtling in the direction of moe.hawk. Fuuuuuck!

-> Dani's Magic Beans coffee -> Ozomatli from the top of the hill. As much as I love those guys and know how much energy they exude up close, I couldn't do it. Once again, I sat on my ass and enjoyed the company at the top of the hill with even more delicious coffee and possibly another Loaded Grilled Cheese. Ozo played an awesome set and even did a medley in the crowd that included The Chicken Dance. Ben took some footage which is included in Screaming Chicken Presents: Best of moe.down xii's Caught On Tape moe.ments as seen below-- you can hear him "SQUAAAWK" ing at appropriate beats.

The Campaign Team, meanwhile, had affixed a giant Screaming Chicken poster to the entrance path for optimal foot traffic attention. Additionally, Hern had drawn a lovely moe. sash on Screaming Chicken, so he'd at least be on par with Rex in the Accessory Department. Look how hard we campaign!

We hung out for Bruce Hornsby, who was outstanding, most of the Ragbirds, and then sensing the weather disturbance (Bob Weir) was very very near, headed back to camp to hunker down and suit up.

Some dedicated souls stayed in and went down to the stage for the Levon Helm & Bob Weir set, even though the clouds were looking atrocious, donning an eery color (not quite that weird Tornado Green, but a very close glarey yellow/brown) and a storm was definitely a'brewin'. Tarps flapping, Ben and Joy's eyes rolled back and they cackled like possessed lunatics, "TIS THE CURSE OF BOB WEIR-- THE MORTALS HAVE BEEN WARNED!!! (**THUNDERCLAP**) ... Want some Go-gurt?"

Within seconds of Levon & Bob getting onstage, the skies totally opened up and lightning flashed across the ridge. Before we knew it, the music had stopped, and a short while later, our drenched friends came trudging back from the concert area. They had evacuated everyone off the hill (I wonder if they used Slayer?). Suddenly, Security on ATV's were rushing around the campsite, ordering us to take down our flagpoles, because there was a Tornado Warning in effect-- an ***Official moe.down Weather FIRST***. A Tornado had touched down in the Mohawk Valley and "it is going to get a lot worse before it gets better". The wind picked up, the rain got angrier, and we secured our district. "Is the EZ Up even staked down?" (it was not) -> etc.. Screaming Chicken also ran an Emergency Broadcast Alert, which can be seen in Screaming Chicken Presents: Best of moe.down xii's Caught On Tape moe.ments, below. "Just tell me if the sky turns green."

The show was delayed about an hour, but once the dangerous cell passed, Levon & Bob got back onstage. I saw them at the Vibes in July and it was good, but sitting on my ass, staying dry, and drinking while spending time with friends I don't get to see nearly enough (especially in the same place) was gooder. Also, the second (Levon and) Bob got back onstage, it started to rain again. No shit. Ben and Joy's theory was proving concrete. However, they must have angered The Vengeful Weir, because their Quest tent poles snapped in the storm and they needed to put everything into a spare tent. Bob Weir also Bob Weir'd the only poster we put up for Screaming Chicken's big Campaign Push. Only duct tape, streamers, and zip-ties remained. Clearly struck by lightning, thrown by Bob Weir. Bob Weir is watching.

Rumor had it that Bob was going to be sitting in with moe. later in the night, so we all got back into our raingear and headed in for the long haul-- starting with the frenetic, weird, and totally rockin' Rubblebucket. They are on the Indie-Rock edge of Jambandism and it translates incredibly well to the moe.ron crowd, as seen by the amount of people who were totally getting the fuck down!

It was soon time to hand off Screaming Chicken to the proper authorities for the election. I'd like to say it was sad to see Screaming Chicken go, but it really wasn't. The acoustics on this particular chicken were beyond sad and that was kind of a bummer. It was less a Scream and more a seagull-like squeak. China just doesn't make Screaming Chickens like they used to (last year). Take the fucking chicken already, please.

It was time for moe.'s Sunday night spectacular! RainShine was a cute way to start, I enjoyed Big World which for some reason has never really grabbed me live (love the album version), so that was cool. -> Ricky Martin… And then the crowd shit themselves when Bob Weir walked onstage. I put my hood up. They began The Other One and (fortunately?) the only thing it was raining was glowsticks, so he had that going for him. My regular readers know I'm not even slightly a Dead fan, but I could totally appreciate the history of what was unfolding before me. Do what you gotta do, you know? But then -> Smokestack Lightning -> The Other One and the Universe was really testing me at this point.

It seemed like a good time to go pee. Heidi assured me I wouldn't miss anything and it would all still be going on when I got back. So, I went to pee in the only place left to pee at the bottom of the hill, since the ~10 Portapotties next to the beer tent were surrounded by 3 foot deep mud and had been officially cordoned off by Security. The only place left to pee at the bottom, was next to the Side Stage. I got used to this sort of public urination at Bonnaroo and have become quite efficient and accepting of it. It's actually a million times more pleasant than using a portapotty, and as a girl, it's definitely a good skill to have.

Anyways, by the time we got back, nothing had changed. In fact, there was a moment where it looked as if Rob and Al made eye contact and tried to figure out how to tell Bob Weir to wrap it up (THIS IS ALL CONJECTURE). I did enjoy Stuck Inside of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again, but I would have ALSO really dug that if it were just moe. alone, so… And then he stayed on for ANOTHER song. Feel Like A Stranger. Hern and Heidi felt bad for me because this is what it felt like to the non-Grateful Dead Fan:

So, Bob Weir stayed onstage for almost 40 minutes. How do you tell Bob Weir to get off stage? This isn't a riddle-- I actually want to know- how do you tell Bob Weir to get offstage? The correct answer might save both you and me someday and I like to BE PREPARED! My friend Mike said he was "creaming his shorts" during the entire sit-in and I felt like Bob Weir destroyed a whole set of moe.. But I suppose some people must have really loved Fathead's cameo in 2000 too^^? The moral of this story: have patience, and to each their own! Snarf snarf!

Rubblebucket totally rocked the setbreak and definitely snagged some new fans. Then It was time for moe.'s final set of the weekend! How did that happen so fast? Well, they fucking blew it out of the park! A brilliant Wind It Up, sweet and savory Faker -> bouncy Billy Goat. I love Suck A Lemon! Psychedelic swirling indeed! Chuck sounded great, but a bit like he was starting to lose his voice-- or perhaps that was just a side effect of the collection of Ragweed flanking the hill (allergies nailed a couple of folks I know pretty harshly this .down). Paper Dragon -> a super fantastic (possibly epic) Rec Chem to close out the set.

Due to the rain, the Mayoral race was short, sweet, and delayed until the end of the set, because the music should always take priority (that is awesome). Al also said some important thanks but skipped announcements for the greater good of music vs. rain Time Management (THIS WAS EVEN MORE AWESOME). During the election, Screaming Chicken was easily defeated by Rob's Hair, who ran a fantastic 24/7 campaign on a main road in the campsite (and suspended their candidate, protected from the elements by an umbrella, from a large pole that danced around above the crowd all weekend). Good for you guys! Shit, man-- Rob's Hair is so unbelievably dreamy, even I gave it a genuine WOOOOOOOO!!!! It's like Tinkerbell OD'd on Pixie Sticks, exploded on his scalp, and the happy accident gave it magical powers over all women in the Universe. I mean, seriously-- UNCLE. Let's hear it for Rob's Hair!!! Then Vin nominated Bob Weir, who I did not WOO for at all, but sooo many in the crowd did. Then someone proposed ala tradition, a combo candidate of Bob Weir WEARING Rob's Hair, everyone screamed, no one gave a shit anymore, and we all got back to the music. Ahh, the real winner here is: DEMOCRACY!

The Spine -> Seat of My Pants Encore was a totally bitchin' way to end the .down. Though, holy crap that weekend flew by!!! Where Does the Time Go?

We made our way up and out, in the sloppy mud that we'd come to refer to as "Sauce". During Levon's set, some hippie girls covered in more mud than clothes, skipped past Hern and Matt, talking about how the mud was just like "Sauce", saying, "It's like I'm covered in sauce, there's just so much sauce, it's so saucy". This is one of those festival words/meanings that became an instant classic and will forever live on in our vocabulary. There was so much fucking Sauce everywhere.

The steady rain kept the partying in our end of the campsite down to a minimum while we worked through leftover snacks (Katmama's legendary Rum Cake w/ ladels of her patented Slurry), drinks, and energy, until almost 4AM, soaking in whatever we could of the very last bits of a moe.down evening. It was a really peaceful night. As some sort of Congratulations for getting through all the Grateful Dead, a nearby campsite played Mastodon as I drifted off to sleep. Great fucking 'hood this year.


RainShine, Happy Hour Hero, Big World -> Ricky Martin -> The Other One* -> Smokestack Lightning* -> The Other One*, Stuck Inside of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again*, Feel Like A Stranger *

Wind It Up, Faker -> Billy Goat, Suck A Lemon, Paper Dragon -> Recreational Chemistry

Spine Of A Dog > Seat Of My Pants

* w/ Bob Weir - Guitar, Vocals

DOWNLOAD THE SHOW! (Thanks, Rob Clarke!)

MONDAY, 9/5/11

Monday morning, every year, I have the same discussion with whatever Security is manning the main gate into the concert area, when they do not want to let me in to buy a good cup of coffee. They tell me the Vendors are closed. "But they're not… They're not closed. I promise you, the Vendors are open, and they are wondering why they have no customers… No, really, I have this same discussion almost every year." I finally convinced Dude to let me in by posing the hypothetical, "What if I really need a bandaid and the Medical Tent is inside?". When I finally got in, Dave's Mini Donuts didn't have power to brew coffee, because the venue had unplugged their supply. The grill wasn't on the grid and therefore it was running fine. They offered to make me a breakfast sammich and wondered why they didn't have any customers. Then I went over to Java Junction who did have hot coffee, because they were able to brew it before their power was yanked. They were also wondering where all their customers were. Can someone please clear this up? Yes, my reasons for Vending being open on Sunday are selfish and mostly revolve around hot and delicious cups of coffee, but aren't these Vendors allowed to Vend on Sunday morning if they choose to? Why else are they sitting inside waiting for customers with fresh coffee? WTF? GOOD COFFEE IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF A GRUELING moe.down LOAD-OUT. GAAAAH. PLEASE FIX THIS!!!!!

Goddamn there was Sauce fucking EVERYWHERE. The parking lots were atrocious. Cars were stuck, traction was scarce. Why the venue didn't lay down hay to start the absorption process the previous night is beyond me. Some of our crew grabbed bails of hay and began laying it down in front of stuck cars stuck in the Sauce. There was a mysterious Super Hero in a tractor pulling cars out of the Sauce who came to be known as moe.down Tractor Guy. Pete would eventually pay some hippies to push his Ford Focus rental car out of the Sauce, cuz Tractor Guy had a huge waitlist. After a couple of trips to the car, with the help of one HYAAAAAH MUUUULE (aka Ben, MVP), I switched the Impreza into Sport Mode and blasted out of Gelston in no time flat. I fucking love that car. I would have been doing donuts and having extra fun playing around in the Sauce had there not been so many Pedestrians in the way. FUN IN THE SAUCE!

And just like *that*, it's time to wrap up another moe.down review. Damn. Great music, including moe., who are just as monstrously good and lovable as ever. Not sure what else I can say. It took me the better part of a week to recover. I love moe.!

Aside from moe.down itself, the running crew we've built and nurtured over the span of 12 years has become a tight-knit (and always growing) family who look forward to spending time together at any opportunity. It really says a lot about friends when you can be around them constantly for 4 straight days, while ingesting all kinds of various things that possibly disrupt your state of mind, getting cumulatively more sleep deprived, dirty, eroded by the elements, and can still function together as a well-oiled machine and eventually come out loving one another even more-- and ALWAYS looking forward to the following year. In this way and others, moe.down is better than any Trust Game, Ropes Course, or Off-Site-Team-Building-Activity. This year, we secured plans to spend the Zombie Apocalypse together in the bountiful community that will be known as East Fordice.ville, and would like to publicly invite Dave's Mini Donuts and Dani's Magic Beans to set up shop in our fortified compound.

I've never missed a moe.down and I don't plan on starting that trend, so adapting to the new venue has been a necessary task. Packing lighter and smarter than the Snow Ridge Days is absolutely essential. But when you get a group of Liberals/Idealists together for that much time, you already know the amount of Rational Thinking and Reasonable Planning (aka bitching) that's been discussed, picked apart, and already implemented successfully in our minds. We had a lot of time to talk it through and the general consensus is that Gelston Estate as a venue would be better suited for one single concert, than it is for a full weekend Festival. And yes, it's beautiful once you are in, but "too much energy is wasted on the terrain" (- Ben), to evenly distribute it to all the great music.

Barring a change of venue, some suggestions for next year:
- MORE portapotties in the bottom/stage area-- seriously, did someone really have an epiphany that providing LESS portapotties would work out well and that ~10 in front of the stages would be logistically appropriate for a crowd of 5000+? In the words of Gob Bluth, "Come on!"
- User Friendly water stations.
- I'm not a huge fan of car camping, but at this location, it would make all of our lives easier.
- Solar/Green energy station to re-charge phones
- In event of RAIN, having the venue prevent another MASSIVE SAUCE SITUATION by actually putting hay down not only in front of the stage, but also in the parking lots, throughout the weekend, because HAY ABSORBS SAUCE.
- No Bob Weir, which will also help in preventing said SAUCE.
- Elvis Costello, Lucinda Williams, God Street Wine, David Byrne, Todd Snider, Chris Robinson, & American Babies!

xii .down! moe.down xii, 9/2, 3, & 4/11, Gelston Castle Estate, moe.hawk, NY: 8.something good HUZZAHS!!! Still wonderful, despite the tornadoes, topography, Vengeful Snarf Warlock, and all that fucking Sauce!

And now, what you've all been waiting for--- the Premiere of Screaming Chicken Presents: Best of moe.down xii's Caught On Tape moe.ments!


OTHER SETS TO DOWNLOAD (check and for the rest):
WEEN (thanks, Scott Bernstein!):
FLOODWOOD (thanks, Scott Bernstein):
RAILROAD EARTH (thanks, Scott Bernstein):
RUBBLEBUCKET (thanks, Rob Clark):
search for more sets!

^ More Dead cover bands than portapotties.
^^ Low-blow?