Saturday, June 14, 2008

moe. in flames at Saranac Brewery

moe. Saranac poster

This weekend was a mini moe. fest at the Saranac Brewery in Utica, NY (aka F.X. Matt Brewery). Utica lies about 45 minutes east of Syracuse making this trip a total of 4 hours from Ottawa. Well within the acceptable range to check out back to back nights of moe.

A few months ago we were contemplating what to do for our annual adults only weekend (meaning no kids, eh) when I tossed in the option of seeing moe. play in Utica. Originally I was planning to attend regardless but when everyone jumped on the idea of a road trip and concert I quickly bought the tickets and booked a hotel before anybody had a chance to back out.


The weekend forecast was for severe thundershowers both Friday night and Saturday but in the end we lucked out with perfect outdoor concert weather as the highs reached a muggy 33°C and not a lick of rain.

Normally this would be too hot to hop in the mosh pit but keep in mind that these shows were sponsored by a brewery company. At $2.50 a pint and a buck a soda/water there was no fear of dehydration. The weekend fave's were Saranac's Pomegranate Wheat and the Orange Cream Soda. And the "pit ham sandwich" with onions and peppers was an absolute hit all around too.

Al Schnier (guitars and vocals)
Al Schnier
Al Schnier Al Schnier

And to think that this weekend was nearly a bust after a very serious fire at the brewery only two weeks earlier. Check out the video here.

Too close a call for my liking. Fortunately the fire was determined to be accidental unlike several others in the last month that were deliberately set. Apparently Utica was once referred to as the "arson capital" and the last such fire was on the same Saturday that we were in town. Yikes. (purely coincidental I might add)

Rob Derhak (bass and vocals)
Jim Loughlin (percussion), Rob Derhak (bass), Vinnie Amico (drums)
Rob Derhak of moe. Chuck Garvey of moe.

The area surrounding our hotel was definitely not the best part of Utica. In an attempt to find the "better side" we decided to go for a little tour. We soon found ourselves leaving the city limits and rolling through the nearby town of Clinton and its neighbor Hamilton College which gave us a good indication of where the well-to-do folks were living.

Chuck Garvey (guitar and vocals)
moe. Chuck
Chuck Garvey of moe. moe. Chuck

As for moe., well they were smoking but after my experience at moe.down last summer I expected no less. The only thing I would ask for would be more - although in their defense they did play about 2 1/2 to 3 hours each night. Unlike moe.down's Snowridge ski hill, Utica apparently has a noise by-law or two that we all had to adhere to. Oh well, it did help ensure that we were all well rested for Sunday's long drive back home to celebrate Father's Day with the kids.

Cheers moe.!! (insert raised glass of Saranac here)


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