Photos by Melodie Yvonne Ramey
Article by Melodie Yvonne Ramey with help from Jessica Bishop
LAFAYETTE, IN – Crisp autumn leaves crunched under the feet of eager concert go-ers as they lined up in front of the Lafayette Theater Sunday evening. The nippy October air failed to chill the crowd, several of whom were dressed in sweatshirts with M O E written broadly across the front. The large yellow bulbs from the marquee glowed on the faces of the crowd, and reflected the orange and red hues from the fallen leaves.
The old wooden red doors finally opened and let the crowd gather into the crimson lobby, past the illuminated glass columns, and to either side of the entrance hall where there were two small tables. To the right stood a merch table filled with the usual t-shirts and various band artifacts. To the left was a table covered in a yellow cloth with the words “Happy Hour Heroes” written in black on the side. The group sometimes travels alongside of Moe, when the venue allows, and acts as a support group for Moe fans who would like to get clean and abstain from substance abuse. Further on from there, a large, round, counter centered in the middle of the bar portion of the theater surrounded the multicolored bottles and taps of various spirits. Music lovers purchased their drinks from the hospitable bar staff, who served them with friendly smiles and the occasional witty banter. Down the ramp from the bar was an expansive standing room area that was packed with anxious fans awaiting the start of the show.
A sharp, clean guitar sound cut through the air as the light dimmed to a deep purple. The crowd cheered and whistled as the Joe Marcinek Band took the stage. The Joe Marcinek Band is an improv band from Indiana. Their line-up varies from show to show but the night’s lineup included: Joe Marcinek on guitar and vocals, L D Miller also on vocals as well as harmonica, Boraham Lee from Break Science on keys, Scott Pazera on bass, and Vinnie Amico and Jim Loughlin from moe. on drums and percussion. Green and blue rings floated around on the ground as Boraham Lee nodded his head in time with the music, with a sound like as if Ray Manzarak from the Doors had joined in with Creedence Clearwater Revival. Joe grinned wildly in response to the dancing crowd, while the flyaway’s in his ponytail blew back from his face with every note he strummed. A bright white light shone upon L D Miller as he raised the harp to his lips and played with such dexterity it seemed that the music was his native language. Vinnie and Jim fit right in with the bunch, never missing a beat. Scott sat calmly to the side carrying everyone along in exact timing, throwing in a quick solo now and then to the delight of the fans. A nude colored balloon bobbed in and out of the crowd in perfecting rhythm with the drums and landed on top of the stage where Joe playfully kicked in back into the audience. The disco ball and psychedelic light show combined with the smooth, chill groove of the music took the concert-goers back in time to place where there were no cell phones, just good music, good beer, and good friends. They thanked the crowd and left the stage, the room buzzing in anticipation for the headlining act.
The lights shut off as Moe. finally appears and announces “We’re here. We’re named moe. We’re going to play music for you”. The fans go nuts at this and the band starts in. They were very relaxed and it was seemingly obvious that moe. is no stranger to the stage. Moe. is a jam band that started out in Buffalo, New York around 1990. They are a five piece consisting of Vinnie Amico on drums, Rob Derhak on bass, Chuck Garvey on guitar and vocals, Jim Loughlin on percussion, and Al Schiner on guitar and vocals.
The crowd erupts in a chorus of “Downward Facing Dog” off their 2012 album What Happened to the LA LA’s. The lights flashed in sync with the music, and the people twirled and moved their head with the sound. The stomping and jumping from the audience shook the floor. The band took a short recess, and came back for a phenomenal second half. They played a Moe. version of Pink Floyd’s “Time” complete with a kaleidoscopic light show.
One fan put it best when she said, “I’ve been to a giant amount of shows, and I’d have to say this is the first time an audience has been so beautiful it stopped me in my tracks. Looking over the balcony was a magnificance I’ve only seen before in Mother Nature. The crowd oscillated in harmony with Moe.’s melodies like the waves of the ocean tide waning and waxing with the rhythms of the moon.”
It is safe to say that any show with Moe. is a one of a kind mind-expanding psychomimetic experience. With a great opening act such as the Joe Marcinek band, a spectacular venue, and phenomenal sound, Sunday night will forever live on in the hearts of all the Moe.rons in attendance.