North Mississippi Allstar February 26, 2010 Highline Ballroom New York, NY Taped and Transferred by T.J. Samulis

Thursday, September 3, 2009

moe. - 08/31/08 - Main Stage

Well here it is: The Grand Finale. The end of moe.down last year was particularly bittersweet knowing moe. would be taking a break from touring for a undetermined amount of time. Nobody could say when we would be rockin’ out to moe. again. Would we have to wait until next year’s moe.down? If there was ever a time to leave it all out there, this was it.

After some fine tuning to get everything just exactly perfect, moe. launched into Tailspin to begin the show. It was an above average version of the song that had a little more of an edge to it than usual. As the song wound down it was apparent Timmy Tucker would follow. This Timmy featured the standard breakdown after the lyrical beginning that kept getting funkier as the tempo slowed. moe. found themselves right into the beginning of Understand instead of completing the chorus of Timmy.

Just like Tailspin, Understand had a more feeling to it. It’s nowhere near the excellence performed in Wallingford, CT in 2007, but it was still pretty good for Understand. Overall the three song segue was a solid start. After a fairly standard versions of Queen of Everything and Down Boy, al. invited Cornmeal to the stage and explained how it was a perfect time and place to try something new. And with that the two bands began Macintyre Range, a song moe. included on their album the Conch.

The song was written by al. about the Adirondack Mountains and has only been performed a handful of times since its debut, but never in a setting like moe.down. Only a couple seconds into the song it was obvious this was going to be something special. What followed is one of my favorite moe.ments ever at the .down. Ever. Period. It’s almost like this song’s entire purpose was to be performed on this night, with these ten musicians onstage, and everyone else on the mountain to serve as witnesses.

moe. took this song from its serene beginning to the overwhelmingly powerful end with Cornmeal to accompany them throughout the journey. The tempo began to increase as rob. took control and led the others into 32 Things. A fiddle, banjo, bass, guitars, and drums all crashing together in perfect harmony…it was madness! You have to listen to this twenty-five minute segment to really understand where I’m coming from. Hands down, it’s in my top three moe.ments of moe.down and very well could be my favorite.

Set two was also full of surprises after the obligatory mayor of moe.ville vote. In a closely contended race Tits and Whiskey edged out Bacon for the crown. George got things started, but was audibled quickly for Happy Hour Hero with Terry and Shannon Lynch on trumpet and saxophone. Horns are always welcomed in HHH. Shannon and Terry barely had time to exit the stage before the heavy bassline of Recreational Chemistry started. It was a welcomed heavy hitter to the set and very moog driven. Overall, this was a solid version of Rec Chem.

The final half of the set included New York City which segued into the last half of George seamlessly. Then in a big surprise the bad no huddled into Roll > Armageddon Jig > Strychnine Waltz. These songs are included in the Timmy Tucker Rock Opera. These three songs haven’t been performed since 4/22/01. The set concluded with a guest appearance from Homer J. Simpson on bass for Plane Crash.

The end was near but not before Wind It Up, some fireworks and version of Monte Python’s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. It was a fitting way to end the weekend. Overall, this show was probably the best of moe.’s performances from moe.down 9.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cornmeal - 08/31/08 - Main Stage

Cornmeal was the one band (other than moe.) I was most excited to see at moe.down. Their music is rooted with a traditional bluegrass sound, but it also has an element of folk rock to it. Cornmeal is known to bring a high level of energy to their shows, which is the biggest reason I was excited to see them. They had the difficult task of waking everyone up for the last day of the festival on the main stage. It’s a tough time slot because after two days of partying, somehow festival-goers have to gather every last bit of energy to face the day.

They wasted no time giving everyone some high octane music to shake off the grogginess from the weekend. Cornmeal came out with their guns a blazin’ with a fifteen minute version of River Gap and confirmed why we were here to see them: it’s all about the energy! The Way It Ought To Be > Johnny Put Your Gun Down kept everyone moving as more and more people began heading to the main stage. Working On A Building was a great example of Cornmeal’s “jamgrass” sound. About five minutes into the traditional song the band put their spin on it. Cornmeal extended the middle section to include a fast paced jam eventually returning to the composed ending.

The pace was eventually slowed down from ludicrous speed with one of their more traditional sounding bluegrass songs, Got To Be This Way. Even though a little slower paced, this one was still as uplifting as the rest of the set. The Chicago band wasn’t finished and turned things back up to warp speed as they segued into The Road (not to be confused with the moe. song). This was a true ballad in every sense of the word, spanning eighteen minutes of shredding. In case you’ve been wondering while listening to the recording that’s Allie Kral on fiddle and Wavy Dave Burlingame on banjo and they both straight up wail on this one! The dial was turned once more to ludicrous speed with the last song of their set, Hillbilly Ride.

Sure, my review is probably a little biased because I was really psyched to see these guys for the first time. But I can honestly say they lived up to my expectations and really do bring the energy level immeasurable heights. Luckily for us this wouldn’t be the last time we saw Cornmeal grace the stage with their enthusiasm.