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moe. at the Square is mo' fun than ever

The lawn exploded in a flash of multicolored glow sticks, as the sky simultaneously opened up and let loose the deluge it had been threatening all evening. One enthusiastic Thursday at the Square concertgoer shouted: "Now they can play all night! We're already wet!" Squaregoers just laughed and pulled on parkas and plastic rainwear, content to jam in the rain. And for four fun-soaked hours of music and malarkey, jam they did.

Former UB students and Buffalo natives moe. returned for a unprecedented four-hour show, weaving a tapestry of 15-minute drum solos, soul-strumming guitar riffs and a jam atmosphere thicker than the hemp sweaters sported by much of the crowd.

Moe. is made up of bassist Rob Derhak, Vinne Amico on drums, Jim Loughlin on drums and miscellaneous percussion, Al Schier on guitar and keyboards and Chuck Garvey on guitar. Having played everything from their own "moe. family picnic" (a Labor Day concert extravaganza that has become an annual tradition) to Bonnaroo and Radio City Music Hall, Rolling Stone-acclaimed and Jammy award-winning moe. has formed a dedicated fan base that extends from coast to coast.

Moe.'s sound can only be described as eclectic -- drawing from Frank Zappa, Led Zeppelin, Steely Dan and Gram Parsons, among many others. From smooth, rolling jam lines to rollicking drum solos and intricate guitar and keyboard duets, lyrics take a back seat in the VW bus that is moe. In truth, it was often hard to tell where one song left off and another began as moe. blended seamlessly from one solid vibe into another. Inclement weather did not deter the faithful, coming from all ages and walks of life to enjoy the event. Even as the sky began to spit, then sprinkle and finally to stream, fans batted balloons and beach balls across the packed lawn, passing crowd surfers over the most tightly packed areas. The atmosphere was euphorically enthusiastic, including one aging fan in a kilt, playing a shillelagh like a guitar atop a pillar at one point during the show, drawing much of the crowd's ample attention from the stage. Despite their already lengthy performance, moe. returned to chants of "mo' moe.!" to give a 15-minute encore.

A band must have something special if they can play for four hours and keep focus through to the end, despite chilly winds and sprinkling skies. Moe. has that and more. Bassist Derhak said it best on their Web site, noting that, "A true definition of a band is everyone contributing all they can -- no matter what it is -- to every song."

Lizz Schumer will be a junior at St. Bonaventure University.

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