Headstash's MOE.DOWN 2012 Review Guide
- By Matt Clark
- Published on August 15, 2012
13th year – Estimated Attendance: 10,000
Day 1 Highlights
Day one started with a light drizzle that continued throughout most of the day though the spirits of the crowd could not be dampened as moe.down’s triumphant return to its original Turin location was on everyone’s minds.
The festival kicked off with Infanrtee’s folk-inspired vocals and intricate guitar work. During a brief rain delay, Grace Potter came up to rally the crowd before The Nocturnals joined her on stage for a string of their hits. Highlights including a few acoustic Led Zeppelin covers with guitarist Benny Urco as well as an energetic take on Heart’s “Crazy On You” and Neil Young’s “Cortez The Killer.”
Next up was The Kyle Hollingsworth Band where it became apparent things were going to get funky in a hurry. A well-received cover of Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome” punctuated the set. It seemed like creative homage’s to legendary artists would be the theme of moe.down XIII.
While walking over to the Main Stage it was clear that everyone was ready for the first moe. set of the weekend with the rail packed long before they were scheduled to come on. An opening “Plane Crash” with Al on the double-neck Gibson guitar made for a raucous kick-start to their home event. Grace Potter came up for some soulful crooning during a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.”
The second set included a “Happy Hour Hero” with Kyle Hollingsworth on piano – a not-so-rare occurrence but still a welcome wrinkle.
The highlights of the first set were “The Pit > Puebla” segment. The latter song has truly become one of moe.’s best jam vehicles and a welcome sign on any setlist. The second set’s “McBain > Skrunk > Brent Black” was your prototypical hard rock from the quintet and stood out as an exceptional jam.
With it being my fourth moe.down, it was great to see all the familiar faces enjoying the music. A new change for this year had other bands playing after moe. rather than the eponymous group closing things out.
Everyones Orchestra finished things off with a bang with Steve Kimock’s infectious guitar work matched with Marco Benevento’s groovy piano playing keeping everyone going into the wee hours of the morning. Conductor and organizer Matt Butler’s wild tuxedo had me and the rest of the crowd smiling as he flailed wildly and directed the group.
Day 2 Highlights
One of the surprise highlights to me on Saturday was Aqueous, a progressive rock group out of Buffalo who had a slew of improvisational tunes. SOJA provided some good early afternoon music as well with their unique reggae stylings. After playing an extremely tight and well-rehearsed set in the evening, Galactic would return to the stage later that night with moe. for the weeekend’s first band/instrument switches.
moe.’s Jim and Vinnie stayed in on percussion for “How Many Years” while the members of Galactic tore it apart. Highlights included a great cover of The Band’s “Up on Cripple Creek.”
After moe., Bright Light Social Hour’s set included a great sit-in by Chuck for a cover of blues legend Muddy Water’s “Manish Boy.”
Day 3 Highlights
Sunday’s North Mississippi All-Star duo consisting of Luther and Cody Dickinson took fans back to their roots in the afternoon as weary campers began emerging from their tents for the last day of music.
Coming off their sUMmer School event, Umphrey’s McGee played a high-energy show packed with improv, though the sun still being out made it hard for LD Jeff Waful to display all his immense skills.
With the addition of Stanley Jordan, a guitarist who UM had recently met and used at Summer School, for two songs, anticipation was high. The band did not disappoint, as his intricate guitar work was a great addition and complemented the band’s objectives well.
With the final, bittersweet moe. set, fans knew the “10:00 p.m.” closing time was not going to be adhered to. The band ended up playing all the way to midnight and Rob only stopped bantering when they unplugged his mic. After opening with “Bullet,” one of their guitar techs ran up on stage and started tuning Jake Cinninger’s (Umphrey’s) guitar. A sit-in was imminent.
The other band member’s instruments started popping up on stage, leading to the second band switch of the weekend. Umphrey’s slowly filtered in for a masterful cover of Pink Floyd’s “Time.” As moe. filtered off-stage, they moved into “Breath” and took command of the festival.
moe. returned to the stage once more as Rob did his standard moe.down announcement for the election of the mayor of the festival (Gold Bond won if anyone had bets going).
A fantastic array of fireworks from the top of the hill punctuated a great weekend that ended with a roaring segment of “Billy Goat > Meat.”
One good thing about moe.down's camping situation is they try and keep the ragers apart from the families so that everyone in attendance can have a good time. There was a lot of space all over the grounds and the familial atmosphere was strong on one side with the party vibe just as strong on the other. It's a nice cross section of fans and a true testament to moe.'s widespread appeal and longevity in the scene. Longtime fans are not married with kids just as young teens are getting into the newer stuff.
Check out our coverage of all your favorite summer festivals in our 2012 Festival Guide.
What did you think of moe.down XIII? Highlights, lowlights and surprises. Let us know in the comments below . . .