The band moe. is to Phish what Jefferson Airplane was to the Dead. The New York-based jam band is an East Coast amalgam of roots and jam, more apt to throw into the mix an acoustic string or two than other improv-based rock bands like Umphrey’s McGee or the Disco Biscuits. More than anything else, moe. is independent — independent of label for most of the band’s career and dedicated to a loyal fan base for whom moe. ratchets up the standard for live performance.
In an age when bands must traverse the merciless road, day in and day out, moe. has long stood the test of time. For more than two decades the group has continually nourished fans on both coasts and collaborated with musicians as varied as fiddler Allie Kral from Chicago’s Cornmeal to Swampadelica’s Nadine LaFond. Perhaps most attractive about moe., from a layman’s viewpoint, is the guitar duo of Chuck Garvey and Al Schnier. Like other legendary string duos (Weir and Garcia, Herman and Emmitt, Bayliss and Cinninger) they know how to listen to each other. One is high up on his neck while the other is down low; the two instrumentalists can contrast and complement at the same time. In proper jam band form, moe. draws on influences like Zappa, Allman Brothers and Eddie Vedder, and plays just about as true as American rock can get.
moe. plays 8 pm Sunday, Jan. 29, at McDonald Theatre; $20 adv., $25 door.