Murat Egyptian Room
Friday, Feb. 2, 9 p.m., $25
In the wake of the Grateful Dead’s demise via the death of Jerry Garcia, young jam band fans were sent scrambling for a new group to attach their affections upon. Undoubtedly, Phish became the most popular, though certain folks will more fervently defend the merits of bands like Leftover Salmon, Widespread Panic, Govt. Mule or moe.
moe. was born at the University of Buffalo from the joining of minds of Uttica, N.Y., natives Rob Derhak, Chuck Garvey and Ray Schwartz in 1990. As a college rock unit, moe. honed its endlessly goofy and chameleon sound in Buffalo bars. Though there are definite nods to the Dead, especially in the copious amount of touring the band has done in the past two decades, moe. is more aligned with Primus or Frank Zappa in its use of modern rock guitar textures and jarring rhythmic shifts. This is a sound that is not as smooth and trippy as the Dead was at its best (or worst), but a really demented, lite-heavy guitar rock. Of course, moe. also employs the prerequisite bluegrass style of vocal harmonies that are such a staple in the jam band repertoire.
Fans of the band will spot moe. for its slightly different take on the genre. The most interesting thing about the band and its very formative run is that it is symbolic of the American music audience’s need to attach themselves to a band that is promoted as and feels more “grass-roots.”