Jam-band moe. struggles with ‘Dither’

Mike Schoeck

Few bands have succeeded in worthy careers as jam-rockers.
New York state natives moe. can’t show much more than a certain mediocrity with “Dither,” the band’s fifth studio release on independent label, Fatboy Records.
Let’s set some things straight. Original jammers like the Grateful Dead, and Northeasterners Max Creek and the latter Phish were able to turn heads and grab masses in loyal followers.
Moe. showed up years after Phish-heads were too toked out amongst arena-sized venues and the departure of Jerry Garcia.
The name “moe.” is taken from one of swing musician Louis Jordan’s hits called, “Five Guys Named Moe.”
Essentially, the band consists of vocalist & guitarist Al Schnier, bassist Rob Derhak, guitarist Chuck Garvey, drummer Vinnie Amico, and percussionist Jim Loughlin. They like their name lower-cased, and it’s no wonder their career has mirrored this weird finding.
“Dither” starts out kicking with “Captain America’s” scratchy effects and jammie appeal.
“Faker” and “So Long” get redundant with Phish-ed out jams and little-change identical choruses again and again in a seven-minute or over siesta.
“Can’t Seem to Find” is the only other track worth listening to on “Dither,” with a harmonica and folk feel. With few exceptions on their latest album, moe. is barely anything other than a Phish spin-off, identical in most every aspect.
Phish, blues-jammed Blues Traveller and even recent Brit-pop jammers like Gomez and the Beta Band have thrived to establish their own sound with minimal likelihood of ripping off other artists.
Moe., excruciating as it is, sounds too much like Phish and is just a fine level above more local and crowd-appeasing cover bands.
Moe. has a couple area tour stops lined up for all you die-hard jam fans. They play the Orpheum in Boston on March 3 and the Palace Theater in New Haven on March 4.
Grade: C