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moe. // Live @ Orange Peel // 3.23.2023

Photos and review by: Jason Robey

ASHEVILLE, NC — The Orange Peel was packed to the brim on Thursday for a sold-out show by jam / rock veterans moe. Fans flocked to the venue for two sets of non-stop music by the group, celebrating the recent return to the full-time touring status of guitarist Chuck Garvey. The band has been touring continuously for more than 30 years, with no sign of slowing down. 

The group took the stage with scorching 10-minute version of “Haze,” with guitarist Al Schnier rocking a double-neck guitar. After a seamless transition to the instrumental “Wormwood,” they surprised the crowd with a stunning version of Pink Floyd’s “Fearless.” By the time the set ended over an hour later, they had not stopped the music once, topping the set off with the fan favorite “Billy Goat.”

moe. returned for another set of songs that bleed easily from one to the next, with no discernible start or end to any of the songs for a 40-minute stretch, starting with a beautiful and haunting run of “Puebla.” The transition into “The Pit” was the perfect vehicle for Garvey to shine with emotional blues licks weaved with the occasional shredding. The familiar theme of “Timmy Tucker,” from the band’s 1994 sophomore album Headseed, crept in to the jam-piece “Tubing the River Styx” a little bit at a time before ripping into the full song. 

Long time staple “Spaz Medicine” kicked off the next round of songs, with its blend of metal, reggae, and psychedelic jazz. A cover of Traffic’s bouncy “Light Up or Leave Me Alone” gave newly-official keyboardist Nate Wilson a rare turn at lead vocals, while also featuring his dazzling work on the keys. The song morphed into a dark jazz piece, growing more intense until exploding into the reggae-heavy “Buster,” from their 1996 release No Doy. The island rhythm and pumping bass line had the packed house dancing through the entire extended set-closing performance. The “Tambourine” encore, with a tension-building bluesy jam was an energetic, yet relaxed ending to an incredible and crowd-pleasing show.

Jason Robey
Jason has a deep relationship with music, as a performing musician, avid concert-goer and professional audio engineer. He has a passion for the local Phoenix music scene, as well as indie music from all over. He also enjoys writing, photography and anything that can make him laugh. Instagram: yitbos69 Twitter