Before shipping off to the West Coast for an extensive winter tour, moe. made a quick stop in New York City to celebrate the release of What Happened to the LA LA’s? the band’s latest effort from the studio. While all but one of the tracks on the album have been debuted in a live setting by the band over the years, but who could miss an intimate club performance of all the new tracks and some old favorites? The Hiro Ballroom is quite a cool venue, to add, located under the Maritime Hotel on the west side. Not only intimate, but also a well-designed and fun place to see a show. The band hosted an autograph signing and acoustic set for the fans who sprung the extra cash for V.I.P. tickets and then played an extended set for the general admission crowd. The six song acoustic set featured four tracks off “the LA LA’s” as well as a cover of Jack Teagarden’s “Shake Your Hips” and an old favorite “meat.” Another note from the set was guitarist Chuck Garvey performed a solo take on “Suck A Lemon,” one of the tracks he wrote for the album.
Here’s a look at the V.I.P. acoustic set:
One Way Traffic (1st Time Played)
Shake Your Hips (Jack Teagarden)
Suck A Lemon (Chuck Garvey solo)
Shortly after 11, the band returned to a full crowd to perform an electric set. “Downward Facing Dog” kicked it off and having been at the show when they debuted it in 2010, it has been interesting hearing this song progress to its current state. Even more than that though is seeing them incorporate the jams in the new songs to segue into older, classic moe. tunes. The slide guitar work from both Chuck and Al in “Downward Facing Dog” set the track up to flow nicely into “St. Augustine,” which also features Chuck playing the slide. The transition from the first track into the latter sounded so fluent its hard to believe they have not been playing it for years. Another treat that added to the venue’s uniqueness was during “Haze” acrobats were performing above the crowd. While I would imagine they perform at the club on a regular basis, it was undeniably entertaining watching them flow in the air above us in a rhythm to the music.
“Paper Dragon” seemed the most appropriate song to play at this venue, which has such an oriental feel to it. During the track the dragon head statue above the stage even had smoke erupting from its mouth. The set closing run from “the LA LA’s” track “Puebla” into the moe. classic “Moth” was another demonstration like the opening segue fore mentioned. “Puebla” is undoubtedly my favorite track from the new album. The jam in this track creeps up on you ever so slightly, and builds from a deep space to a shredding face melter and back beautifully. It has also become a strong jam vehicle for the band and will no doubt be both a band and fan favorite in the rotation for years to come. The encore showed off percussionist Jim Loughlin’s skills on the xylophone in a jam that led from “Chromatic Nightmare,” -Jim’s dark, circus-esque instrumental contribution to “the LA LA’s”– into yet another favorite, “Rebubula.” Like the slide guitar transitioned “DFD” and “St. Augustine” earlier in the evening, the band utilized the prominence of the xylophone’s to transition these two tracks. Seeing these songs progress at shows in the future will be especially memorable since witnessing their humble beginnings and I cannot wait for the spring run on the East Coast! Hopefully the Hiro Ballroom will get some more act to play there too, definitely check it out if you get a chance!
G.A. Set: Hiro Ballroom; New York, NY
I: Downward Facing Dog>
E: Chromatic Nightmare>