Hometown jam heroes moe. smoke Buffalo

On Thursday, Jan. 31 at the Town Ballroom in Buffalo, moe. presented hundreds of fans with a musical storm of fire and brimstone that can hardly be matched by any touring acts today.

Anticipation was intense as eager fans sweat bullets while waiting to see the beloved jam-band perform for their hometown legion of loyals.

Upon entering the stage, moe. charged right into their opening number, "She Sends Me." As soon as those first chords were hit and the first strings were stretched, the crowd erupted into a dancing frenzy. After bouncing around to the 1960s beach-rocking opener, moe. went right into the crowd favorite, "Akimbo," not even allowing the crowd to slow down their steps.

With the Jan. 22 release of new album Sticks and Stones, it seemed only appropriate that moe. would play a fair amount of their latest tunes. The title track was the stand-out song of the night, extending into a seven-minute jam that truly impressed the crowd. Also off the new release was the instrumental "Z02" and the poppy "All Roads Lead to Home," both works in progress.

The highlights of the night were evenly spaced throughout the show. In the first set, the 15-plus minute long "32 Things" showcased moe.'s ability to keep from letting a long jam die down in terms of pure energy. A second-set surprise opener of "Wicked Awesome" and an extended jam on "George" were the obvious crowd favorites. Bassist Rob Derhak consistently kept a rolling, funky beat for the entire three-hour show despite a pesky sickness that kept him from singing.

The standout of the whole show came during the encore, when moe. invited 15 fans on stage to help sing the chorus on the Sticks and Stones Irish-drinking closer, "Raise a Glass." Right after the fans walked off stage, a 25-minute long rendition of "Recreational Chemistry" closed what was truly an unforgettable night.

While fans may argue and complain that their studio albums are not moe. at their best, they can all agree that a live moe. concert is an unreal experience. Every year, moe. one-ups themselves, and it will be interesting to see where they take their art from here.