LIVE: moe. (as Monkeys On Ecstacy) @ Empire Underground, 05/12/2022

New York’s own jam-band legends, moe., “surprised” fans with a show at Empire Underground in Albany on Thursday, May 12. The show was announced only a few days prior under their alias “Monkeys on Ecstasy”, a clue for die-hard fans who’ve been following them since the 90s. The show was sold out, with 400 concertgoers packed in the basement-like venue for an intimate and hot performance.

Photo by Claude Sawyer

The night started out with a “Happy Hour Hero” opener, a classic upbeat tune that got funky once bassist Rob Durham took the lead. Fans were quick to spot a few new musicians on the stage. Guitarist Suke Cerulo of Schleigho filled in for Chuck Garvey, who is in recovery from a stroke last winter, and keyboardist Nate Wilson, both of whom will be joining moe. on their summer shows and are welcome additions to the group. 

Moving into “Silver Sun”, a groovy psychedelic melody with a beautiful bells solo from percussionist Jim Laughlin. Suke’s wailing guitar solos rocked the crowd, as Al Schneider got wild on strumming, making for a spicy jam during “Johnny Lineup”.  The set ended with fan favorites “Lazarus” and “Buster”. “Lazarus” was highlighted by crashing cymbals and a primal, jungle rhythm, thanks to drummer Vinnie Amico and Laughlin . “Buster” got the crowd extra rowdy as they all sang along with the lyrics about pigs.  

After a much-needed set break, moe. returned to the stage for a wavy yet robotic “Skrunk”. The big show topper was a 24-minute “Brent Black”, a fun and loose groove that eventually climbed into a dizzy, chaotic peak until it was an all-out, lengthy bongo-and-drum battle royale with lots of crowd cheers. Another golden moment was the stand-out bass solo from Durham, featuring big, twangy, focused plucks and the fastest of strumming.

Photo by Claude Sawyer

Every song gave each musician a moment for an improvisational solo, followed by the whole band joining in for a massive crescendo. This seemed to be the formula for the night, and it was awesome. They certainly know how to get the crowd moving. The band’s transitions from song to song were seamless, with a very impressive flow.  

Greg Bell of Guthrie Bell Productions took to the stage to thank the band and the fans, and to share in the excitement. moe also took a moment to share their appreciation for the fans and their guest musicians. The night ended with a “Skitchin’ Buffalo” encore, a nice tribute to the band’s shared history with their fans. 

Photo by Claude Sawyer

moe is primed and ready for additional summer shows. They’ll be starting a small tour at the end of the month, with their annual performances at Summer Camp in Illinois, and City Bisco (with the Disco Biscuits) in Philadelphia. They’ll be back in the Albany for a free show on July 6th at the Empire State Plaza


Set 1 –  Happy Hour Hero > Silver Sun > Johnny Lineup, Lazarus>Buster 

Set 2 – Shrunk > Brent Black > Interstellar Overdrive>Recreational Chemistry 

Encore – Skitchin’ Buffalo

Photo Gallery by Claude Sawyer

1 Comment
  1. Richard Brody says

    Great review and photos.

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