I had very mixed emotions going into this year's moe.down. The non-Labor Day Weekend date was an interesting twist, and of course I was incredibly excited it was back home at Snow Ridge, but the lineup didn't thrill me at all. I bought my Early Bird ticket the day it went on sale, as per tradition. And then God Street Wine, one of my favorite bands ever in the history of the whole world, announced they were playing that very same weekend in California. What. The. Fuck. Seriously. WHAT THE FUCK!!? Then I had to like, CHOOSE between moe.down and God Street Wine, but I had already bought the moe.down ticket and insisted, "No, no… It's moe.down. I will see GSW's 3 NYC shows the next week... I can't miss a moe.down... I've NEVER MISSED A moe.down!!!" No matter how many times I told myself these things, it never sounded or felt quite right. It was like the Universe playing a cruel fucking joke on me. Nevermind that 5 of my core crew couldn't even make it to moe.down this year, but the only band on the lineup I really wanted to see was moe., and don't I see them enough? No. But MAYBE? Fucking hell.
And there I was, a week before moe.down (nano-seconds after 2 very close friends had to bail), finally admitting to RESENTING moe.down, obsessively checking Kayak for cheap airfare to San Francisco, cursing my poor decision-making, and absolutely crushed over what I began to think of as a totally false obligation: moe.down xiii. I have NEVER not looked forward to moe.down. Until now. When it became abundantly clear that plane tickets would be the equivalent to one month's worth of Health Insurance, I had to get reasonable about money, then got even angrier because we don't have Socialized Healthcare and I shouldn't have to allocate all of this fucking money towards my Health Insurance every month, and finally decided the only way to channel this terrible energy, would be to run the Dark Horse Candidate for Mayor of moe.ville that I've been threatening to run for months: Broccoli Rob. Maybe I could even get Rob Derhak to finally snap. Would moe.down xiii be worth it if Rob blew a gasket onstage or the Mayoral Race was finally cancelled? Maybe. And at that point, it became a challenge I most certainly accepted.
Going on 72 hours with little-to-no sleep due to stress/guilt/anxiety, Broccoli in cooler, I was driving 80 mph the entire way to Utica, in an attempt to see as much of God Street Wine's TRI Studios free webstream as possible. I missed like, the first 40 minutes. That was definitely not how I wanted to start the weekend, but neither was spending 2 separate unsuccessful half-hours trying to collect a urine sample from an 11 month old puppy to test for a UTI after she squatted and peed on my bed at 3AM the previous night, while simultaneously getting black fly bites in my yard (thanks, Climate Change). Fortunately, though, I got to see the rest of the show (Wendy -> +), on my friend's iPod while constructing Broccoli Rob. I know what you're wondering, and no, Broccoli Rob was not Broccoli Rabe. He was Broccoli Rob: Broccoli + Wig + Sunglasses + Zip Ties. That's why it's funny. If he was Broccoli Rabe, he would be Broccoli Rabe, which is boring. Or Broccoli Rabe Rob, which isn't as funny-- and which is exactly why he was Broccoli ROB. And was exactly why I couldn't fucking wait to see the look on Person Rob's face (and his reaction) when he got his first look at Broccoli Rob.
Bob Weir sat in with GSW (and it was shitstorming in Utica-- coincidence?) and that was neat, I guess. They sounded amazing, my friends in the hotel room thought they were playing recordings of the Grateful Dead during "intermission", but there was no "intermission", that was actually GSW, covering the dead, with Bob Weir. And goddamn, it sure looked like they were having an amazing time. But the haunting CU image of Lo Faber singing Epilog was enough to make me weepy. It burned itself into my retinas and ears and brain, and would eventually keep me awake and blubbery until 4AM. Lo's stare-- it felt almost accusatory, as in: YOU DIDN'T COME TO CALIFORNIA! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE??? "WHAT HAVE I DONE???" Yes, I was in Utica. But my heart was in Cali. The conflict was very real.
OH GOD, LO!!! WHAT HAVE I DONE???
At 8:30AM it was absolutely shitstorming in Utica. The troops wanted to rally and I talked them into pushing it back til the radar looked healthier. I tried, but couldn't get back to sleep. The A/C was blasting on Low Cool, but even Low Cool was excessive, and only reinforced the reality that I was in a beige fucking hotel room in Utica. I had abandoned God Street Wine. I had betrayed them. And my toes were cold.
It's been a couple of years, but the drive back to Turin was familiar and Snow Ridge was waiting there to welcome us with open arms. Like, "Where have you been?" and "I told the Gophers and Grasshoppers to take it easy on you." We scored a pleasant spot on the high ground in "Quiet" camping. The new setup with the RV's being next to the road and the tents being up against the mountain was super awesome and very smart (thank you, moe.!). Strategery was key to getting us through the wet load-in. Tents, EZ-Ups, & Chairs went in first. With ongoing downpours, real estate and shelter were the main priority. Then it was just a couple more trips for everything else (spaced out in between even worse downpours). However, no one can really complain about a couple more trips to their car in the pouring rain on FLAT GROUND, anymore. I certainly won't. Sweet Jebus-- ohhh, how I missed Snow Ridge!
Friday early sets are my ideal naptime at moe.down, and at Snow Ridge, you can actually hear the stage music from the entire campground, which is awesome (as opposed to Gelston, where there was a mountai-- hill in the way). I've seen Grace Potter & the Nocturnals a few times, so didn't feel too bad about attempting to sleep during her set (I took a fabulous nap next to the Whateveritwas Tent for their set at Bonnaroo). She's got a great voice to nap to. And I used to fall asleep to Classic Rock every night when I was in Middle School, so the Led Zeppelin medley hit the spot.
There was more rain headed our way just in time for moe.'s set (YAAAY) and I just wanted to collect my energy up to try and power through the entire night without being too (much more) cranky. I kinda took my time in heading in for moe., and when they broke into Plane Crash while we were still walking towards the main entrance, I couldn't have been happier. Unless they sandwiched the whole weekend with it, I wouldn't have to sit through a Plane Crash for the rest of the weekend! It was an omen. Like, maybe moe. were gonna be here to get me through this. And then I saw Dave's Mini Donuts and got a Loaded Grilled Cheese!! YAAAY! Since it was only Plane Crash (yeah, I said it), I decided to sit down in the Beer Tent and enjoy my sandwich, rather than run up to the hill immediately. And that's approximately when THE RAIN CAME. And poor me, stranded in the Beer Tent, eating bacon, tomatoes, melted cheese, staying dry. Well, shit-- maybe things were starting to look up!
My biggest complaint about watching the first set from the Beer Tent was that it was a stellar fucking setlist that I would have loved to have watched right in front of the band. But it still sounded fucking great down there, and call me High Maintenance, but staying bone-dry after being poured on all fucking day was fine with me. Highlights: Grace Potter singing Gimme Shelter. Super dark Styx -> The Pit, which was beckoning me up to the stage, but as soon as we got 20 feet out of the tent, it started raining again. Puebla, Timmy Tucker, Letter Home -> Wind It Up. Good stuff. moe. wanted me to be at moe.down. They were going to make it all better.
We (I) obsessively checked the radar and knew it would clear up for the 2nd set, so we headed up. Oh man, moe. BROUGHT it. Tailspin -> Head. McBain -> Skrunk -> a fucking KILLER Brent Black! And the encore just kept the driving energy going-- Seat Of My Pants -> Akimbo! What a sick show! Pit, Timmy, Brent Black, SOMP, & Akimbo, ALL IN ONE PLACE?? moe. were playing like they meant it. This is why I was at moe.down. Wow. Damn, I needed that. And-- Vinnie was back on the skins after recovering from his nasty bout with Mono. He sounded strong & fantastic. Rob on the other hand was either losing his voice, or his mic was cutting out. Curious…
I slept pretty well after popping a migraine pill and trying not to think about GSW… and putting cotton balls in my ears so I didn't have to listen to a guitar lesson going on outside my tent.
Plane Crash >
Not Coming Down >
Gimme Shelter *
Tubing the River Styx >
The Pit ->
Letter Home >
Wind it up
Happy Hour Hero +
Seat of my Pants >
* with Grace Potter
+ with Kyle Hollingsworth
DOWNLOAD THE SHOW! Thanks, Scott Bernstein! http://archive.org/details/moe2012-08-10.tlm170.flac16
I woke up feeling refreshed and very excited that the Memory Foam "Dreamtime" Thermarest cover I got from Campmor was worth every fucking penny. HUZZAH TO THE MIRACLE FOAM!
There were still passing storm cells in the forecast, but at least it was going to be sunny in-between most of those. Saturday morning brought with it a huge change in tradition, as I paid $5 to shower in Snow Ridge's brand new shower house. Waiting in line was a bit strange because there are no windows on the building, and as a Jew-- I mean, even as a BAD Jew, when someone's like, "Hey- you can shower in here-- LINE UP!" Instinctually, it's kind of a large hurdle to get over. Just sayin'. But fortunately, the shower was just a shower, and a fabulous one at that. The line to get in was entertaining, of course- while we were there, a 15 year old girl who had been partying with her mother (MOTHER) and sister until 5AM, had passed out in a stall and hit her head, but eventually woke up, and then continued to shower, while insisting someone bring her different clothes to change into (why replace the Kathy Griffin t-shirt?) when the EMS cart showed up to take her to the hospital. Soon thereafter, and much like The Wolf, a 2-Woman cleaning crew in a golf cart showed up to bleach the stall clean. As far as I know, nobody called CPS, but they might all be dead already, so… Yeah, mostly without incident. But most importantly, I got to hit the hygienic reset button and make some new friends on the line.
We got a breakfast crew together, and headed inside to get some Dani's Magic Beans Coffee. We also hit up the bake sale, which I have missed so so much! Unfortunately, because of the date-change, they didn't have their delicious fresh pickles this year, cuz the cucumbers weren't ready yet, BUT, they did have delectable peas that had been picked the night before, at a house 3 miles away, while the gardener was listening to the moe. show which was bouncing off the hills and could be heard throughout the town of Turin.
And of course it was time to begin PHASE 1 of the Mayoral Campaign. We were thorough.
SOJA was not for me. But moe.'s acoustic set at the Kid's Tent definitely was. WEEE!!!
The Wood Brothers were great, but this is around when things get slightly fuzzy, so let's see… Leroy Justice played a set of their NYC Southern Rock on the Second Stage and were even joined by Al for a few songs. I am definitely a fan of Corey Glover. I am definitely not a fan of Galactic. My love of Corey Glover did not change my opinion of Galactic. I headed back to camp and got some rest while listening to the whole thing. They played Cult of Personality, and that was awesome, because it's the fucking Cult of Personality with Corey Glover on vocals. Here's where Saturday goes completely hazy. I couldn't tell you anything about JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound. I was drinking a lot of tequila (I poured a bottle of Don Julio Blanco into a Nalgene bottle [and threw it in my cooler], cuz there's no glass allowed in the campgrounds).
Galactic w/ Corey Glover
And then there was moe..
I recall that we got up to the hill, got settled, and we heard Blue Eyed Son, which was awesome, and featured Bach on knee-slapping percussion. Punchline was fantastic, cathartic, and riled up the audience (as always). I don't quite remember much more than that. It was fun. On to SET II! Super solid groovy set. Paper Dragon -> Graffenberg to get the crowd worked up. The Zed Naught Z -> Don't Fuck With Flo -> Zed Naught Z sandwich was fucking awesome. Balls out. Up On Cripple Creek was cute and featured Galactic (and Corey Glover) invading the stage. Then Galactic + Jim & Vinnie rocked out Zeppelin's How Many More Times w/ Glover on lead vocals. Holy fuck!! You could see and hear how much fun they were having-- A TON. Corey sounded quite genuine when he thanked the crowd and declared, "That was fun! Byeee." And then moe. had to follow it. George, Recreational Chemistry. Heavy.
During SET II, we finally looked up, and got to watch the planets and stars pop out of the sky as the clouds cleared. I am pretty sure we saw Mars, Saturn, Spica, and Uranus. No, really.
moe. & Galactic w/ Corey Glover
Then came The Bright Light Social Hour. This was the last stop on their Tour, and they made it count. I am not quite sure what was going on here, but it was awesome. They all had fantastic hair. It's not often these days that a whole band has such great long hair, but Bright Light Social Hour did. They are bringing it back, along with colored denim. And the Keytar. Good for Texas! Chuck played with them for a while and that was pretty damn sick. Towards the end we saw a shithoused fanboy take a face-first spill into a wet tarp at the side of the stage. The whole experience was awesome. I would totally see them again, but I might wear my cowboy hat and boots next time.
Eventually I made it back to camp, ate salty snacks, convinced someone else to be the asshole and wake a dude up to turn off the fucking Disco Biscuits Variety Hour that was blaring on the boom box inside his tent, and at 4AM placed cotton balls in my ears to try and dampen the singalong of Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here that was being savagely violated 20 feet from my head for the 5th time in less than an hour. Lawdy lawd, have mercy!
Blue Eyed Son
Captain America ->
Waiting For The Punchline
Paper Dragon ->
Sticks and Stones
Zed Naught Z ->
Don't Fuck With Flo ->
Zed Naught Z
Up On Cripple Creek*
How Many More Times**
* w/ Galactic
** Galactic w/ Vin & Jim on percussion
DOWNLOAD THE SHOW!! Thanks, Scott Bernstein! http://archive.org/details/moe2012-08-11.tlm170.flac16
Sunday brought with it a refreshing hair-washing under one of the plentiful campground water-faucets, as is tradition at moe.down. There was some relief in knowing that I had already missed all of the God Street Wine there was to be missed on the West coast, that there would not be any additional missing of GSW from this point forward, and that I was just days away from the 3 night NYC run. Keep it together, Lynn. We headed inside for multiple cups of Dani's Magic Beans Coffee and Dave's Mini-Donuts while enjoying Timbre Coup -> North Mississippi Allstars Duo (beautiful music, but 2 of my friends who really dig NMA said they definitely missed the Bassist, who makes them a Trio & full band).
North Mississippi All-Stars Duo
There was a definite buzz on the street about Broccoli Rob. While Kate hit the vending area to collect signatures for Broccoli Rob's entry into the Mayoral Race (thanks, Kate!), I borrowed Hyah-Mule (aka Ben) from Joy (Thanks, Joy & Hyah-Mule!), and we absolutely ROCKED Phase 2 of the campaign. This shit is great for people with A.D.D..
With Phase 2, I hoped to answer the question, "WHY is Broccoli Rob Good For You?" Why would one want to vote for Broccoli Rob, over a candidate like Gold Bond's Powder, Shake Weight, or Rex (obvious)? What's in it for the average moe.viller?
Pretty soon, you couldn't go to the bathroom (portapotties or flushies) without hearing Broccoli Rob's name. People had really connected with Broccoli Rob on a deep level. They were even walking around wearing the signs. Our message seemed to have struck a nerve. Broccoli Rob IS Good For You. And just in time for moe.'s afternoon set!
It was fun, sunny, full of love, lots of smiles, and we fucking ROCKED that too, as is tradition at moe.down. Highlights: Downward Facing Dog, absolutely love this song. That back end is just so INTENSE and DARK. Bring It Back Home was an appropriate theme for the Kids Tent Parade, which featured the kids sporting different sized cardboard cutout moe. heads on sticks in front of their faces, all dancing around on stage at their different heights, while the band played. I'm sure this was especially fun for those who decided to fill up on psychedelics (moe.rons, not kids... though, maybe both?). Spine (fun, loud singalongs) -> a darling Buster. Good stuff. And Rob was wearing white jeans, which means at some point that day he was like, "I am totally going to wear those white fucking jeans."
Oh, shit! Has El Herno been passed out in his tent the entire weekend?!?"
Gullo on Vin-Cam during the iPhone contest thingamajig.
We headed down to the second stage for Marco Benevento's first set and THE RAIN CAME (again). And we hid in the Beer Tent (again). I can't drink beer. Which is why I had tequila. So, I was fine in there.
The rain cleared and I went back to camp to chill and listen to at least part of the Umphrey's McGee set from the comfort of sitting on my ass without hiking boots on. I ended up being too unmotivated to go back in and just listened to the whole thing from camp.
Sometime around here-ish (?) we dropped off our School Drive Donations at the Kid's Tent. It's awesome that they do this. My mother, who is a Teacher, gets really excited every year for "the moe.down School Drive!" and buys like 6 bags of stuff for me to bring. It's cute. Crayons are heavy, but important.
We also had to defrost and dry off Broccoli Rob, who had been hanging in the Joyham's cooler since Thursday. He was a bit waterlogged, so he hung out in the sun, checked out a cool rainbow, and was eventually handed off to the moe. Powers That Be when we headed back in for Marco's 2nd set. Marco Benevento is pretty fucking awesome (and strangely adorable). Jazz Guitarist Stanley Jordan, who was there to play with Umphrey's, sat-in with Marco's Band too. There was crazy and unbelievably cool shit happening on that stage. I wish I remembered it more clearly. But not really. That's what tapirs are for, eh?
Broccoli Rob defrosts
Broccoli Rob drip-dries
Broccoli Rob checks out the rainbow
Marco Benevento is a Mad Genius
Memories from this chunk of time are incredibly hazy. I think it went something like this: Chuck.side Rail -> Too Many People -> Move Back (nh) -> Too Many People -> Move To Flat Area In Back of Soundboard -> Hang. Bullet -> a great Deep This Time. A mellower section with The Road -> Kyle's -> Kids -> "This is Kids, I'm going to pee. I'll be back before it's over. -> Flushies -> "See? I'm back and they're still playing Kids". I don't really remember much from the Umphrey's sit-in that happened next, but they played Pink Floyd's Time with moe. and did a classic full-band-swap.
Then l fell through a gopher hole and landed in the pit just in time for the Mayoral Election. The Election began, and as planned, when Broccoli Rob's name was announced, Skip escorted the candidate out and handed Broccoli Rob to Person Rob. While Person Rob didn't snap, I believe he was definitely caught off guard, and was at least slightly disturbed by his Broccoli Doppelganger. "Okay… It's kind of gross." Broccoli Rob got a pretty decent crowd response when it came to voting, and Person Rob promised his kids they could smash him if he lost (this was getting better by the second). Gold Bond's really went to town on the campaign this year and won it by a landslide ("Gold Bond's is Mayor… I'm so proud of you people." - Person Rob), even after Person Rob tried to push the Rex ticket (and later sympathized with Rex about losing to something people powder their balls with). And that's all well and good for Gold Bond's, but the highlight of the moe.down xiii election, was undoubtedly when The Gingerest of the Derhak moe.lings walked to the edge of the stage, and slowly/dramatically raised Broccoli Rob above his head, as his father cheered him on, screaming, "KILL IT!!! KILL IT!!!!", and SMASHED Broccoli Rob to the Earth below, as the entire crowd let out a unified roar! Yes, Broccoli Rob went down in a hideous and fiery blaze of glory. I couldn't have asked for a better end to the shenanigans. Though, watching Person Rob tweak would have been absolutely brilliant too. Oh well. There's always next year (unless GSW plays conflicting shows again, because I would probably be there instead, because I don't think I can ever live through this stress a second time around).
Person Rob meets Broccoli Rob
(pics courtesy of John Gullo)
Ginger Derhak smashes Broccoli Rob!!
moe. took back the stage and pulled out a fantastic Rebubula (and I re-located to rock the fuck out directly in front of Satan) to close out the last set (though, a little birdie had told me they were planning on playing an extra surprise set). The fireworks were pretty, blah blah blah and then moe. announced they were going to keep playing until the cops came or they got tired. ONWARD, moe.rons!!! Instead of a full set, we got a 40 minute combo of a bouncy Billy Goat -> a super hardcore evil thrashy Meat that brought THE RAIN back. I couldn't be bothered to put on Super Poncho, 1) because I was rocking too damn hard, and 2) I didn't want Chuck to think I was some kind of pussy. There was really no way to follow that much awesome up, so they thanked everyone, and called it a night.
And what of our beloved Dark Horse? Some chick in the pit picked up Broccoli Rob after his glorious collision with the ground (the Dollar Store sunglasses didn't make it through the trauma) and spent the rest of the night dancing with him, all whilst caressing his silky hair, of course. So he may not have won the election, but he still landed the chick at the end of the day. Aww, yeah. Broccoli Rob is GOOD For You.
Camp -> Munchies (nh) -> Sleep ->
SET I (afternoon)
St. Augustine ->
Downward Facing Dog
Bring it Back Home*
Spine of a Dog ->
SET II (night)
Deep this Time
The Road >
Kyle's song ->
Time # ->
mayor of moe.ville
ENCORE / FIREWORKS
Billy Goat ->
# w/ Umphrey's
% Full band switch
DOWNLOAD THE SHOW!! Thanks, Scott Bernstein! http://archive.org/details/moe2012-08-12.tlm170.flac16
It was like 7AM when I decided it was time to get up and start the slow process of packing and loading out. It's robotic at this point. The Snow Ridge people were allowing us to drive our cars up to the campsites again this year (the last couple of years before the festival moved from Snow Ridge to Gelston, they were not allowing this, and it was a huge point of contention with us moe.rons), which makes all the difference in the world-- so thank you moe. and Snow Ridge for that. And once the cars were loaded, we grabbed ONE LAST CUP of Dani's Magic Beans before hitting the road. Deeee-licious! Definitely my favorite booth of the festival. We also left tips for the awesome cleaning staff in the main office. Good stuff.
I got in my car, prepared for re-entry, and began to reflect. What I decided, was that:
- moe. were awesome. They absolutely fucking killed it that weekend. I love those boys.
- Snow Ridge and Turin were also awesome. I was oh-so-happy to be back there. Load-in and load-out were easy, the security treated us reasonably, the staff was super-kind and accommodating, the bathrooms were clean, the water-faucets didn't scalp anyone or take Hulk-strength-thumbs to use, they were fast and furious with their hay-distribution to prevent Sauce-Pits after all the downpours, our campsite was quiet, chill, and we didn't have any Wook-related problems.
- We had a great group of people, but without some of the core crew there, it definitely felt like something was missing, so that was not awesome.
- The biggest advantage of the date-change was that there was no ragweed, vs. A LOT OF RAGWEED-- and if that means anything to you, you probably appreciate it.
- Missing God Street Wine was definitely not awesome, and I would choose differently in the future. That's my own head-trip, I suppose. But perhaps if GSW played AT moe.down? Hmm...
- And of course, Broccoli Rob was awesome, which is exactly why: moe.down needed me this year. Because that Mayoral Race would have been such a goddamn piece of shit without Broccoli Rob, and you all fucking know it. Broccoli Rob Was Good For moe.down! And he was great for me, cuz it helped distract me from GSW (the tequila also helped). Thanks to the entire crew for helping with the campaign (photocopying stuff for free at work, collecting signatures on the petition, helping put up flyers, and spreading the good word while on line for beer and the bathrooms). TEAMWORK! YAAAY! Speaking of "teamwork", thanks to John Gullo over at Sofajockey.com for hooking me up with some of his awesome photos for this review. Check out his complete moe.down xiii gallery on flickr!
moe.down xiii, 8/10, 11, & 12/12, Snow Ridge (yaaay!), Turin, NY: 8 HUZZAHS! Which is pretty good considering the less-than-thrilling lineup, the shitty downpours, and the extraordinary obsessive guilt eating me from the inside. Thanks to moe. for being so goddamn motherfucking awesome.
NEXT: Will God Street Wine ever forgive me for missing their West Coast Tour? STAY TUNED TO FIND OUT...
I haven't found all the live recordings I'm in love with quite yet, but here's the moe.down 2012 search on archive for you to pick and choose your own moe.down xiii adventure! http://archive.org/search.php?query=moe.down%202012 Try not to die of Dysentery!