OK, I’ll be nice: After four-plus hours I can sorta see why people like these semi-charmed, lowercased schmucks. (And yes, anyone who takes a 40-minute break between sets is a schmuck.) I’m guessing every member of the Buffalo-from jam bland called moe. probably had a private music tutor at some point, and generally speaking, people respect chops. Most people want to believe their favorite bands are real, technically proficient, smoking, what have you. An astute 20-minute guitar solo, no matter how much of it is the most soulless lesson-book dogshit I’ve ever heard, is still astute. So are the syncopated freaky meter turnarounds moe.’s drummer works into every song, so too the funk bass and pretty singing and marimba banging. I’ll give moe. this: They’re better than the Grateful Dead.
As for Roseland, every dude with a Cocks hat and cargo pants came, and man, do these guys love getting fuukked uppp. So much so that they talked about it incessantly through both sets, save to applaud when moe. returned to the head after taking the 20-minute piss, or to scream along, “It’s recreational!” to drugged ode “Recreational Chemistry,” or to womanize, recounted like so: “That chick that just walked by—I touched her ass! I didn’t squeeze, though.”
Which is the fundamental mystery here. Somehow moe. have convinced a sizable, predominantly teenage population that they need the band when it’s time to toke—impossibly brilliant psychosomatics that I’m surprised more second-rate indie outfits don’t go for. The night was a dreary manipulated haze, where even the highlights felt programmatic: Bassist Rob Derhak’s young kids came out to ring sleigh bells and tug kitsch strings for “Together at Christmas”; a bobblehead sat atop keybist-guitarist Al Schnier’s amp because, you know, he has a sense of humor; a fan manually inflated an enormous green space alien, and man was shit off the hook after that. During the band’s remarkably faithful (at first) cover of Hendrix’s “Little Wing,” a blasted pre-teen girl even fainted into her friend’s arms. I panicked, but the friend told me not to worry. “Just a case of too much moe.,” she explained. Tell me about it.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 29, 2005