Monday, August 19, 2013

moe.down xiv, 8/9-11/13, Snow Ridge, Turin, NY

moe.down xiv, 8/9-11/13, Snow Ridge, Turin, NY

Holy crap, it's moe.down time again! Or, rather-- holy crap, it was moe.down time again! ...  Holy crap, it's moe.down review time again!

THURSDAY, 8/8/13

After 14 years, packing for moe.down has gotten more routine, but there are the certain basics everyone must remember, which is why a detailed packing list is always in order. Since Pete The Enforcer asked me for transport to/from the festival this year, I was challenged to streamline my belongings--- something I was actually looking forward to. See, every year, no matter how many wardrobe options I bring, I pretty much wear the same damn clothes every day. It sounds gross, but sometimes I'm only in certain clothes for a couple of hours before the weather shifts and it's time to change-- so those clothes aren't really "dirty" at all. What I aimed to eliminate was bringing backup item upon backup item. Like, "What if I need a softer t-shirt one day?" = "I need 3 soft t-shirts to choose from!" This year I would only bring 2 soft t-shirt options, instead of 3.  That is streamlining in action.

After some severe traffic rage when the Northbound Deegan ramp stopped up the Southbound Deegan ramp, I finally got to Pete's place in Queens. We loaded up the car in a downpour. He insisted I get out of the car and eat some "authentic Mexican tacos". Good call. Rage subsided. Then we sat in traffic for over an hour just to get out of NYC. Pete spent much of the time explaining to me why going to see moe. the week after my Appendix burst (WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO DO? NOT SEE moe.?) was a bad idea and that it's perfectly okay to miss a moe. show. I agreed with the first part but still disagreed with the second. First of all, if my Appendix ever bursts again the week before 2 moe. shows, I'd maybe consider possibly staying home). Secondly, I can't miss a moe. show, because you know what happens when I miss a moe. show? Lo Faber shows up. Goddamnit there was so much fucking traffic. Pete spent the rest of our doomed sentence on the Harlem River Drive thanking me profusely for bringing him to/from moe.down and reminding me how good those tacos were. The tacos were pretty fucking good and having Pete at moe.down would be awesome.

Then it rained some more.

Then we got to Utica.

"Should I try the green slushy again? Maybe it'll be good this year." - El Herno

FRIDAY, 8/9/13

Then we left Utica. Fortunately for everyone, the Quik-E-Mart no longer carries the cursed green slushies. We arrived in lovely downtown Turin before 10:30AM, and had absolutely no traffic getting into the site. It was already clear that less people were there this year, but other than hoping the band didn't lose any money on the weekend, we were pretty psyched for the smaller turnout. We constructed our fortified compound on the grassy knoll of Quiet Camping and let moe.down xiv commence

Shortly after setting up, a Wook selling patchwork dresses appeared and took off his sandals before quickly prancing off into the depths of Tent City. "But you left your sandals!", we shouted. "I'll be back for those!", we translated his reply to be from a series of alternating grunts and whoops.

After our traditional post-setup singalong to Dynamo City's landmark hit, "One Night In Hackey", I tried to nap. It didn't work. I predicted the nap-free Friday moe.down exhaustion migraine to hit sometime after Del McCoury.

Del McCoury hit the stage and we headed in. The man has fabulous hair. Good hair runs in the McCoury family. I could tell because his son is in the band and he also had very impressive hair. Del was wearing a grey suit. The man is All Class. Del's All Class Bluegrass was a lovely and light way to start a long weekend.

Shortly before the sun set, I began thinking ahead to moe.'s LED strobes. They have a funny way of finding the direct pathway through my retinas, into my brain. Whether I'm 5 or 500 feet away, their sense of precision is uncanny. Like a young Jedi bullseye'ing a womp rat from a T-16. The burning sensation they create on the inside of the back of my skull is pretty painful on a good day. Since migraines make me really light-sensitive, you can understand my somewhat dulled excitement about aforementioned pending light show. I took my migraine Rx.

And Pete drank 3 Pisses (that's Whiskey in the water bottle).

And the camp began to explore the beverage-y possibilities that would eventually become The Turin Iced Tea.

Around this time, another wook came through Hernopolis and offered me something that I had never heard of. I made the split-second decision to engage this young man in conversation. I've definitely seen this particular wook at shows before, and as well as I can recall, he has the ability to speak English, but on this evening his tongue and lower jaw seemed to be paralyzed, which would explain the noticeable speech impediment.
LG: What did you say?
W: Shiny!
LG: Huh?
W: (holding out empty palm of hand) Shiny!!
LG: I'm so confused.
W: (shaking empty palm of hand) Shiny!!
LG: Are you saying, "Shiny"?
W: (nodding head in agreement, empty palm shaking insistently) SHINY!!
LG: Sorry-- Shiny?
W: (nodding head in agreement) SHINY!!
LG: What the hell is Shiny?
W: (looking stumped) Shiny.
LG: I have no idea what you're talking about.
W: (pregnant with thought) **UNINTELLIGIBLE**
LG: Huh?
LG: Was that even a word?
LG: Look, I'm not even fucking with you. I'm trying to figure out what you're trying to sell me. Shiny?
LG: (in the tone of how Americans talk to foreigners by speaking English slowly and loudly) WHAT. IS. SHINY?
W: (looks around, as if for narcs, then defeated & ashamed, in a whispered voice…) Mah-wee.
LG: Molly?
W: (nodding in agreement) Mah-wee!
LG: Ohhh, Molly. No, I'm good. Thanks.

And suddenly (just like that) it was time for moe.! As the aforementioned June Appendectomy Tour was a pretty horrible experience all-around and I was very much looking forward to finally getting the proper moe. fix I'd been waiting for since those sick Best Buy shows in February.

SET 1: Bring You Down really kicked me into the right place. Then came the obligatory Jerry Garcia tribute (8/9 being the anniversary of his death) with moe.'s cover of Casey Jones-- which by the end of the first verse I was Grateful^ for a chance to pee and grab my first Loaded Grilled Cheese (from Dave's Mini Donuts) of the weekend. It made me realize that if Jerry Garcia were still alive, there wouldn't be so many Jerry Garcia tributes. I'm still getting to know Silver Sun, but this one's jam was delicious-- when it really got going, it was nice and dark and sounded like they were going into Elvis Costello's Watching The Detectives. That didn't happen. But if it did, I would have freaked the fuck out. It was still really cool. -> Mexico, which was awesome and all that gooey moe. love began to ooze out of my pores. moe.down xiv. Holy shit.

Setbreak provided some really fun times with the North Country's foot-stompin' Eastbound Jesus on the Second Stage and may or may not have involved fries. What a pleasant intermission to keep the moe.down energy going!

SET 2: The whole thing was good. I don't know what you want me to say here. I was just pretty fucking psyched to be at moe.down. Observations: the night sky was crystal clear enough to see the Milky Way, Saturn glowed brilliantly amongst billions and billions of stars, and moe.down totally needs a Taco Truck.

Weird thing-- when we got back to camp, the site still hadn't completely filled in around us. That was cool and all, but very unexpected. Many of our regular crew couldn't make it, but it looks like they weren't the only ones. The smaller turnout would give it that same intimate and easy vibe the first couple of years had. I liked that.

08/09/13 • Snow Ridge Ski Area • Turin , NY
Set 1: Big World > Ricky Marten > Bring You Down, Casey Jones, Blue Jeans Pizza > Silver Sun > Mexico
Set 2: St. Augustine > 32 Things, Deal, Time Ed > Water (Enter Sandman tease) > Brent Black* > Mar-Dema > Time Ed
Encore: Spine Of A Dog


SATURDAY, 8/10/13

What's fucked up when your friends become parents is that they start waking up and moving around at like 7AM no matter what day of the week it is, even at moe.down, and they think it's normal. Fuck that. That's what earplugs are for.

Saturday morning brought with it the responsible task of a $5 shower. I was determined to muster up enough energy to beat the line--- and I did! 1) Shower Shoes are awesome. 2) Soap and conditioner are even better. 3) A little froggy hopped into the stall with me as I was about to walk out the door. I briefly considered capturing it and selling Phatty Dank Amphibian Licks for $5 a pop. The shower would pay for itself. However, I didn't go to moe.down to work. So, I told that frog my plans and he ventured off as an Independent Contractor, getting the best of some beady-eyed drooling wooks in crack.ville. Last I heard, he's a drug King Pin in an upscale Mexico City suburb and is running for City Council. He's quite a go-getter. What could possibly go wrong?

Saturday afternoon brought with it a super sweet, very happy, but seemingly lost Beagle. She was found wandering around the Kids Tent area around 8AM. Some kind folks walked her around and tried to find her owners, Floodwood made an announcement during their show, but no one knew her. Eventually, after spending time in the campground and making lots of new friends, our little moe.down Beagle friend was brought over to the Lewis County Humane Society. Since nobody has come looking for her, they now believe she was "dumped" by a Hunter because it's the end of the season and there has been an influx of hound dogs over the past couple of weeks (she has already become best friends with another Beagle they found). Unfortunately this is not uncommon, because people are assholes. The shelter has named her "" (I would have voted for "Turin"), and she will be put up for adoption next week. Apparently, may or may not be pregnant, but she is such a cool dog-- if you are a responsible pet owner, and will give her the good home she deserves, and promise NEVER TO TAKE HER TO A SHOW BECAUSE SHE IS A DOG FOR FUCK'S SAKE, please contact the Humane Society and check her out (and/or some of her peers!).

I filled up on Dani's Magic Beans (that's coffee from Dave's Mini Donuts) and The Turin Library's Annual moe.down Bake Sale's Yellow Beans (actual Yellow Beans-- they always have at least 1 type of garden Produce available) and caught a bit of Conehead Buddha (Wetlands nostalgia) before heading over to the main stage to check out Scott Metzger's multi-dimensional Wolf. Hard rock, surf guitar, Country-- it was a fun way to start Saturday.

Sometime around now, a random wook offered me "the good kind of Ketamine" as opposed to "the bad kind of Ketamine". I turned it down. Not because it was "the good kind of Ketamine" and I prefer "the bad kind of Ketamine", but because I don't ever want "any kind of Ketamine".

Then of course, more coffee, more Conehead Buddha, and back to camp for good ol' fashioned sitting! Sitting is awesome.

El Herno: There's something sticky on my foot. I wonder what it is.
Pete The Enforcer: It could be any number of things.
EH: It's Salami.

I hid from the Conspirator set (a few of us simultaneously provided snarky DVD commentary about their entire set from the safety of our camp.). I had to take another migraine Rx (this was sometime after the ill-advised Jell-O shot).

And then, behold- the completed evolution of a moe.down beverage born within the rip-stop-nylon walls of Hernopolis:
The Turin Iced Tea: Whiskey, Red Bull, Root Beer, and Lemon Gatorade. (1:1:1:1)

I didn't try it, but I'm sure it did the trick. What trick? I dunno. Some terrible trick.

I missed the Stepkids, but let's talk about this night of moe..  HOLY FUCKING SHIT. Set 1 was really exciting. Skrunk -> Timmy -> a motherfucking BEAUTIFUL Wind It Up. An energetic Godzilla (love it). A pretty Puebla -> Styx -> The Pit (love it) -> well, you can't have it all, but with the horns, the jam section in Plane Crash was good. I still used it as a pee/grilled cheese break. But the boys sounded amazing-- it continued that high-powered energy I felt back in February at the Best Buy.

Then shit just went CRAZY. Well, first I got fries. Then we quickly figured out this was going to be the set that El Herno slept through (he misses 1 every year). That poor miserable bastard, because this was hands-down one of the best moe. sets I've ever seen them play. Just. Jesus. It was like a bloody prize fight. They were relentless-- punch after punch! We were standing there on the hill reacting with every blow, "WHAT?", "HOLY FUCK", and "DID THAT JUST HAPPEN???". Like, "WHO THE FUCK DO THEY THINK THEY ARE?!?!?"

Well, in discussing details-- I should first say that Pete got a little freaked out by Chromatic Nightmare because it's CHROMATIC NIGHTMARE-- and it makes him think about clowns. Clowns are fucking scary. But that Smoke -> Chromatic Nightmare -> Smoke appetizer was the perfect little evil sandwich to set us up for the massive entree.  -> Rec Chem -> Akimbo -> Styx (completing from the previous set) -> Seat of My Pants -> Meat (unfinished) -> Brent Black (finishing it up from the night before).  The set was built of so many dark shredding songs that I crave, one after another after another.  The jams were intense. Each of the guys took turns tearing the shit out of their paths, but Rob and Vinnie had an epic battle during Brent Black which egged Rob into old skool Rob form-- and he left a massive swath of destruction in his wake. Loud and obnoxious, he was bending his Bass, showing off, being all sorts of dreamy. There were audible, "OOF!!!" and "WOW!!!" and "WHAT???" 's with every twist and turn. The mountain was SHAKING. Goddamn!!! Robert Fucking Derhak. I haven't seen him that happy and animated in years. Dude was having SO MUCH FUN. moe.down xiv Saturday Night Set 2! What an enjoyably twisted adventure it was!! **GOLD STAR AWARD** YES!

Breathing. Okay. Sorry. IT WAS JUST THAT GOOD!!! They ended the night with a sweet tribute to J.J. Cale, Traveling Light. And then another touching tribute to a different other important gentleman, Dr. Graffenberg. Always a crowd pleaser.

Suggestions? moe.down could really use a Pudding Vendor. They could set up right next to the Taco Truck.

All attempts to look for Perseids within the campground failed, as I couldn't see anything beyond the giant white moths swooping between flood-lights (aka "Death On Death's Wheels"). Someone please tell Neil deGrasse Tyson I tried.

08/10/13 • Snow Ridge Ski Area • Turin , NY
Set 1: Skrunk > Timmy Tucker, Wind it up, Godzilla (w/ Chris Michetti on Guitar), Puebla > Tubing The River Styx > The Pit > Plane Crash (w/ Conehead Buddha Horns)
Set 2: Smoke > Chromatic Nightmare > Smoke > Recreational Chemistry > Akimbo > Tubing The River Styx > Seat Of My Pants > Meat* > Brent Black
Encore: Traveling Light, Dr. Graffenberg


SUNDAY, 8/11/13

      Earplugs + Distance from Ditch Party                  =            Quality Rest
Visions of Rob Derhak Slapping the Shit Out of his Bass

After a decent night's sleep, it was finally starting to feel like I kicked the migraine. Of course this greenlit my tequila consumption. I did have coffee before I started on the tequila-- I mean, I didn't want caffeine withdrawal. No, sir. Also, I definitely ate breakfast. I always eat breakfast. Maybe you hadn't heard, but it's the Most Important Meal of the Day.

Coffee was accompanied by gorgeous weather and super Percussionist, Mike Dillon (someone told me he is one of Jim's heroes^^, but I can't vouch for the authenticity of this statement, so I will just irresponsibly spread the rumor), and his Band-o-Fun. LOVE the Trombone player, Carly Meyers-- she killed it! Then, I got caught up in fantastic company/conversation and actually listened to Stanley Jordan's smooth stylings from the campground while hanging with friends. I'm okay with that. You should be too.

I took a quick Sunday late-morning stroll through Crack.ville, but it wasn't nearly as crazy as I had expected/hoped for. I didn't check the Ditch, though. Don't disrupt The Ditch before 4:20PM.

Shit, man. It was Sunday afternoon already and there was still much pregaming to do for moe.. It included more tequila. There was no time for a proper lunch, but in an attempt to bypass this oversight, did a fair share of snacking. Unsmart? Yes. But it would have to do, because it was Sunday, and I wanted to be up front on Sunday. I darted inside and found my trusty Chuck.side spot. Rob was wearing a Dalek t-shirt. All was well with the world!

Sunday afternoon tends to be the most family-friendly of the moe.down sets, and this year was no different. Stranger Than Fiction is a great opener. Suck A Lemon is and was rollicking good fun. Rob dedicated a sweet song to his daughter, but she wasn't around to hear it. Get used to it, buddy. And of course Bearsong, featuring the Kids Tent Parade was quite silly. Carly Meyers joined in on Trombone and the kid who was standing directly in front of her got a set of noise-canceling earmuffs. One child had decapitated an inflatable Saranac Bear and was wearing his skin as a mask (he was also standing in the direct sunlight-- it had to be a sauna in there. For liability purposes, I wonder if this task was reserved for a moe.ling.). After getting kicked in the mouth by an inflatable Saranac Bear at the Vibes a few years back, I am always slightly concerned about my safety in the front during Bearsong. This time seemed to have increased potential for real danger and I was on high-alert (Level Purple).  People were tossing numerous inflatable things at the kids and the kids were throwing them right back out into the crowd. One girl corner-kicked a beach ball into the photo pit and nailed a woman square in the face. For fuck's sake-- they are CHILDREN. NEVER provide children with projectiles!

Billy Goat (great) -> Californ IA -> YOY (CHUCK!) -> Buster, featuring Mike Dillon and Jim (wearing a really wide smile) on a serious Vibraphone duel. You know what sucked? There was only one moe. set left. How the fuck did that happen?

08/11/13 • Snow Ridge Ski Area • Turin , NY
Set 1: Stranger Than Fiction, Suck A Lemon, Crackers, Bearsong (w/ Kids Tent Parade & Carly Meyers on Trombone), Billy Goat > Californ IA > Y.O.Y. > Buster (w/ Mike Dillon on Vibraphone)

Besides moe., my other top musical priority of the weekend was Philly's own Dr. Dog. These guys totally blew me away last Summer in Camden. They are one of those bands that your friends with really good musical taste recommend and talk about for years and you're like, "yeah, yeah, I'll get around to it" and then when you finally do, you're like, "OMG MIKE MCKINLEY IS A GENIUS AND I CANNOT BELIEVE I WAITED THIS LONG TO LISTEN TO DR. DOG!" Anyways. I was SO looking forward to this Sunday Sunset Set (as was Pete, who had insisted upon listening to a custom-made Dr. Dog playlist on our ride up) and they delivered a hard rocking show to an appreciative crowd. Gutsy Rock, with hints of Pavement, Queen, the Beatles. Great song writing. They sing their songs with conviction. They dance around. Dr. Dog have zazz. They played The Breeze as the sun set over the hill and a light wind blew across the crowd. It was quite special. There's no reason not to like Dr. Dog. If you don't like Dr. Dog, you're wrong.

And yeah, I may have eaten a Salty Peanut LaraBar in the middle of their set while standing directly in front of the Rhythm Guitarist, but that snack bar saved my life. 20 more minutes and I would have been a goner. The migraine didn't seem to enjoy the combination of tequila, lack of food, direct sunlight, and white-girl-head-banging, and came back with a vengeance. By the end of the Dr. Dog set, the muscles in the back of my head and neck were on fire, but I don't regret a second of it (okay, maybe I should have drank less tequila and eaten more food that afternoon.). If I ever meet the Chemist who invented my migraine Rx, I will bake them cookies to their heart's content. Oh, they cookies they shall have!

I don't remember what happened between Dr. Dog and moe.'s last set. I didn't see RAQ. All I have is a pic of Pete with this here Baby Water.

It's made from real babies.

SET 2 was a blur of moe. fun. Finally on the mend, bundled up in warm layers, I continued to rock hard. Queen of Everything always makes me feel great. Moth -> Hi and Lo. Beautiful. Opium was tasty. They brought Stanley Jordan out for Yodelittle, which was a nice match for his finger-tapping stylings. -> completing the previous night's Meat. Really enjoyed their treatment of the continuations each night. Very cool. Bones of Lazarus, George.

The Ditch beat Rex for Mayor of moe.ville. Was there ever any doubt? Rob lectured the crowd about the benefits of Dictatorships-- because the masses don't always know what's good for them.

Rebubula (w/ Stanley Jordan) encore was, as always, heartwarming. I love that song. I love moe.. And then a pleasant Happy Hour Hero closed out moe.down xiv.

08/11/13 • Snow Ridge Ski Area • Turin , NY
Set 2: Queen of Everything, Moth > Hi and Lo > Opium, Yodelittle (w/ Stanley Jordan) > Meat (finished from previous night), The Bones of Lazarus, George
Encore: Rebubula (w/ Stanley Jordan), Happy Hour Hero

MONDAY, 8/12/13

I wonder how The Ditch felt on Monday morning after what must have been an epic victory party? Me? I was tired, but happy. And at least I didn't wake up in a fucking Ditch.

Load-out was easy. The only thing left behind was the pair of sandals that patchwork-dress selling Wook left on Friday afternoon and never came back for. Maybe next year.


- Those paper lantern things people light on fire and launch above the crowd are very pretty, but they are also really fucking dangerous. At least one got caught in a tree next to the hill and set a branch on fire, another brushed up against a different tree on it's sketchy sideways ascent, and we saw at least 2 plummet to the Earth in a ball of flames right in back of the stage^^^. They just don't seem safe is all I'm saying.
- I really enjoyed the smaller crowd. It was calmer, cleaner, friendlier, and that all translated into a genuinely wonderful moe.ville experience.
- I like having the .down in early August instead of over Labor Day Weekend, but I'll show up whenever they need me there.
- The result of my streamlined packing?  I still pretty much wore the same damn clothes every day, but my backpack was a bit lighter. Maybe next year I'll push it a bit further, but I don't think I'd ever feel comfortable packing any less than 2 soft t-shirts (good rule for life).
- Snow Ridge is still awesome. I'd like to thank them for taking such good care of us again this year.
- moe. are still awesome. Maybe even awesomer than before.  I'd like to thank them for taking such good care of us again this year.
- Band Suggestions: Elvis Costello, Pavement, Stephen Malkmus, God Street Wine, American Babies, Primus…
- Food Suggestions: Taco Truck, Pudding Vendor (to go next to the Taco Truck)

Oh, moe.down. I don't know what I'd do without ya! moe.down xiv, 8/9-11/13, Snow Ridge, Turin, NY: 10 HUZZAHS!!!



^ See what I did there?
^^ If I had meant "Hoagie", I would have said, "Hoagie".
^^^ Definitely NOT Perseids.