Down By Downtown Music Festival Headliners moe. (Rises Again In Roanoke)
Roanoke Virginia seems to be calling my name recently, with the announcement of moe. at the beautiful Elmwood Amphitheater in the heart of Star City, many other music fans are being drawn here as well. Down by Downtown Music Festival is an annual music collaboration, unifying various business’s in Roanoke. I was only able to catch a few of the many shows that they had to offer in the downtime area but Travers Brothership from Asheville, North Carolina immediately stood out to me. Opening for the headlining act, they were reminiscent of moe. themselves; a fresh mix of funk and Southern Rock. Playing a groovy, "It's Your Thing" mixed seamlessly with Funkadelics, "Can You Get To That."
Jam Band Purist has a long history with moe. They are one of the first bands that really got me there; you know what I mean, get you THERE! When moe. took the stage, it was as though I was transported back in time to those days long since past. There was a part of me that was never sure I'd see moe. again after Robs cancer battle but boy, does it feel good to be back again. moe. has risen like Lazarus and pushed ever forward, remaining tight and flawless. While their festival sets are never as long, as I would want, I still think the band did a great job exploring many improvisational moments and highlights from their catalog of music.
Opening with a clean and effortless, "Crab Eyes" Al took the lead, as they shredded into "Big World." This combination had Elmwood Park brimming with excitement when they went for jam territory during "Ricky Martin." "Captain America" felt like a joyous reunion between my ears and my heart. Seeing Rob up there singing and doing his thing makes me extremely grateful to still be seeing moe. live. With no set break, the band quickly transitioned into "Montego" a song, which I was not familiar with. The classic "St. Augustine" was next, which collided right into an exhilarating "Tailspin."
"Blue Jeans Pizza" has been one of my favorite moe. songs since my adventure to upstate New York for moe. down 11. This "BJ" would highlight Rob's bass playing, as he remains one of the tightest bassists in the business. A long improvisational intro into "Akimbo" would end the set of music but moe. would encore with "Spine Of A Dog" for a classic but short performance. After the show, I headed over to Martin's downtown for some more music and the party continued with Grass Is Dead, as they completely packed the house for the after party.
Moe.noke seems to be becoming quite a Jam haven for the East Coast and Virginia music community. I am looking forward to the upcoming shows at 5 Points music sanctuary and will be spending more time there whenever I can. Thanks to Down By Downtown, BlueRidgeRocks.com and a special thanks to Meagan Iwaniszek at mirphotoz.com for the amazing photos!
Photo Credit: Meagan Iwaniszek mirphotoz.com
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Editor: Robert (R.A.) Fadley
Freelance Writer, Musicologist, Music Journalist, Music Critic, Music Writer, Author, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Guitarist.