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Moe - The Conch Review

by Sherrill Fulghum

The quintet currently known as Moe began in 1991 when University of Buffalo students Rob Derhak and Chuck Garvey decided to form a band. With the help of a few friends the band w known as Five Guys Named Moe played the clubs and dives in and around Buffalo. Over 16 years and more than a dozen albums later Moe is a staple at festivals around the country including three straight playing the Bonaroo festival in front of 80,000 people in a Tennessee pasture.

Over the years there has been few changes in the band's line up. Band members are more than just parts of a group, they're family. The guys say that they cannot live without each other. Oddly enough neither can the music. The music in its current form is composed and shared by all band members. Moe's music cannot be pegged into a specific genre. While there is a distinctive rock element to the music with screaming guitar solos; there is also a fell for many different musical styles. One of those elements is the use of a vibraphone - something you would not expect from a rock band.

Just as important the music is the audience. Moe views their audiences as an integral part of their live shows. Moe has a strong and dedicated fan base but not in the traveling circus feel of the Greatful Dead.

Moe's latest musical offering is a 17 track piece of art called "The Conch". Conch is taken from Lord of the Flies and signifies making sense and civility from chaos. This definition is a fairly accurate description of the album. Moe's music is not an album to plop in the player once and forget. It requires a number of plays just to hear and understand the numerous complicated musical compositions. Even the recording of the album resembles the title. Due to a particularly rigorous tour schedule Moe recorded "The Conch" in several different locations utilizing several different people which adds to the albums diversity. Only the drum tracks were laid down at the same time and in the same location. Moe even used a live audience on their studio album. And owning their own record label - Fatboy Records - also gives Moe more creative control.

While Moe can never be pigeonholed to one category, they are very much like a Pink Floyd of this era.

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