TURIN After a two-year hiatus, moe.down has come back to its roots.
The band moe. is welcoming its fans and other musicians for the 13th annual moe.down at the Snow Ridge Ski Resort Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Besides being back on familiar ground, moe.down returns with a new sense of what makes a moe.down a moe.down: sort of a rural hoedown with rock, folk and other musical styles such as reggae thrown into the mix.
We tried to recapture the spirit of what we intended to do with moe.down in the first place, moe. member Al Schnier said in a phone interview Friday. Which was to host the event with our fans and friends from around the country who would get together for a family reunion/camping picnic of sorts. Its just a big hangout weekend.
Many of the approximately dozen bands moe. invited to the festival are associates of the five-member band, which formed in Buffalo in 1990. Over the years, it has become one of the best-known groups in the jam-band movement, which emphasizes musical improvisation. Its also well-known for its roots-rock style.
Itll be good to be back in Turin, said Mr. Schnier, a Utica native.
For the past two years, moe.down was held at Gelston Castle Estate in Mohawk, Herkimer County.
Weve always held this area near and dear to our hearts, Mr. Schnier said.
He added that the ski resort has proven to be camper-friendly a key part of moe.down.
The music festival breaks with tradition this year in that its not being held on Labor Day weekend.
So many people are in transition on Labor Day, Mr. Schnier said. We were finding a lot of people couldnt come. We decided to pull it back a few weeks and make it a true summer event.
The September festival also had years when it struggled with the weather.
More often than not, theres been a hurricane thats come up the coast and weve been plagued with rain, Mr. Schnier said. Its had a bearing on ticket sales. The Adirondacks can be really tricky that time of year. It has snowed on moe.down before.
Besides bands familiar with moe., such as Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Umphreys McGee, Galactic and SOJA, moe. will introduce new bands to the festival this year, including Bright Light Social Hour, JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, Infantree and Leroy Justice.
Mr. Schnier said members of other bands also expressed satisfaction that moe.down is back in Turin.
Everybody has been receptive to that, he said. I dont think theres a single person who is disappointed with the move back.
La las land
Moe. will perform six sets at the festival. It will share cuts from its new album, What Happened to the La Las, released in January. The band went a different route with the album, partnering with a label Sugar Hill Records instead of independently producing it. It was moe.s first partnership with a label and an outside producer in more than a decade.
Both of those things were great because it allowed us to focus more on making a record and less on running a record label and manufacturing it, Mr. Schnier said. We could focus our efforts more on being musicians.
The process of putting down tracks on What Happened to the Las Las, was different than past albums, Mr. Schnier said.
Often, our method has been to write a song, take it out on the road and put it through its paces and then go to the studio and work a version of it, he said. This time, we kind of did the same thing, except when we got to the studio, our producer (John Travis) would say, Wait a minute. That doesnt work. You need to do something different here.
The band would then work on those ideas.
It was really a great learning process; almost like our songs went to boot camp, Mr. Schnier said.
Critical reception for What Happened to the Las Las has been favorable.
Weve gotten more radio airplay out of this than weve ever gotten before, Mr. Schnier said. Its an interesting time for the music industry. With things like Pandora, Spotify and people sharing digital files, record sales arent what they used to be. Its hard to quantify how something is doing. But the critical acclaims have been great.
catering to fans
Mr. Schnier said moe. has always listened to its fans, and that will determine the future location of moe.down.
Nothing is set in stone, he said. This is our event so we have the luxury of moving it if we like to. And we are listening to what our fans are saying.
The band will keep listening to those fans as it has for the past two decades and its members have no plans of hanging up their instruments.
Were not as resilient as we used to be. That sort of stuff comes with the territory. We deal with stuff like carpal tunnel syndrome and all the aches and pains that come with becoming fat old men, Mr. Schnier said, laughing.
Other than that, everybodys spirits are really good and were happy to be together and happy to still be able to be doing this after 20 years.