The Mountain Times

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Rockin’ the Region with moe.

Snoe.down with moe. returns to Killington Resort and the Beast could not be happier. If you want to get down to some funky, jamming bands then don't miss the the four days of shows March 21-24.

The festival began in 2006 over in Lake Placid, NY and is produced by Great Northeast Productions. In 2010, they were looking for a new home for the festival and found the Rutland/Killington region to be a perfect fit. Benjamin Jaehne, vice president of the company, says "This is a destination type festival so we look for areas that will be fun for all the people that are travelling to come see it. Killington Resort has a great reputation for the ski conditions and terrain and for the quality of the skiing. That's what attracted us. We were also looking for a venue at the resort that could hold 3,000 fans and there wasn't anything of that size. We knew of the Spartan Arena down in Rutland so we figured we could hold concerts down there and put together ski packages with the resort and tie it all together. The Killington and Rutland combination worked really well."

1--Nor 'Beaster ---Snoe .down -2-Photo -by -Rob -Chapman

Snoe.down is the only music event to ever be held at the arena, Jaehne says. "There was no blueprint for us to go by. We had to do it all ourselves," he said. "We even had to bring in our own power."

This year they have teamed moe. up with some stellar acts. Friday night Dumpstaphunk is opening the show. Formed in 2003, Dumpstaphunk was initially assembled by keyboardist Ivan Neville on a whim, to perform a solo slot at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Neville tastefully selected the unique double-bass attack of both Nick Daniels and Tony Hall on bass, enlisted his own bloodlines for the scorching guitar rhythms of cousin, Ian Neville, and most recently, added the newest member to the group, heavy-hitting female protégé Nikki Glaspie on drums, replacing original powerhouse Raymond Weber.

The band continues to develop its sound and further push the envelope within a progressive funk sound that has arguably become the most defining in the modern genre from New Orleans.

Saturday's opener is the original lineup of Strangefolk. Jaehne says "moe. and Strangefolk have known each other for many years and lead singer Reid Genauer's other band, Assembly of Dust, has been playing on the snoe.down lineup for many years," he says. "This will be a great reunion to have them back. Strangefolk, at its core, was a community (providing the very experience, perhaps, that social media provides today), and their music - storied characters woven into sing-along songs and infectious three-part harmonies interpreted in a new way each night - had become the soundtrack of some people's lives."

1--Nor 'Beaster --Snoe .down -1-Photo -by -Miles -Weaver

Albany's own Eastbound Jesus is opening the show Saturday afternoon at Bear Mountain. "They've been picking up a lot of moementum and there has been a lot of buzz about them," says Jaehne. "They shred on the banjo, they have sweet sounding vocal harmonies, they play ballads, they play fast-paced rocking tunes, and it all comes from a real, genuine place that makes for a sound all their own."

Thursday night Marco Benevento kicks things off at the Wobbly Barn. If you want to see an exhilarating glimpse into the future of rock piano, then this is your show. Benevento is a melodically inventive musical adventurer who artfully employs pedals, amplifiers, circuit-bent toys and sundry effects around his acoustic piano set-up. Benevento was on the top of Great Northeast Productions's list so they're super excited to have him.

Opening the show is Mike Pedersen who plays soulful music. Whether it's rock, dance or bluegrass, he plays from the heart. With striking vocals, serious guitar chops and a very entertaining stage presence. Regardless of the band he's playing in, Pedersen knows how to capture an audience.

At the Pickle Barrel, Thursday, Dead Sessions headlines. Over the past 14 years Dead Sessions has grown to become one of the favorite Grateful Dead experiences in the Northeast. Playing since 1998, the collective is known for their authentic but unique renditions of Grateful Dead classics, thick with heartfelt jams that make the most jaded Deadhead rejoice. Dead Sessions is composed of a rotating cast of musicians throughout the country, but the roots of origin are easily traced to the Green Mountain State.

1--Nor 'Beaster ---Snoe .down -Photo -by -Miles -Weaver

Friday afternoon bands will perform at the K1 base lodge. First catch Tauk (12:30-2 p.m.), a band that delivers a unique blend of funk, jazz, pop and rock with a fresh, experimental spirit. They're an instrumental jam heavy band. With a new album under their belt and an impressive summer lineup of shows, Tauk plans to continue to push the envelope of their musical vision, and bring that vision to all those who are listening around the country.

Later that afternoon (3:30-5 p.m.) is the Primate Fiasco who are a Mardi Gras type of a band that uses the instrumentation of a New Orleans street band (sousaphone, banjo, brass, woodwinds, drums, etc.) but plays music that you wouldn't expect. They play high energy arrangements and improvisation mixed with fascinating lyrics and curveball cover decisions. Jaehne says, "They really know how to work a crowd. I saw them recently in Boston and was really excited that they had this date available for us."

You'll need to be active on the slopes to catch all the great acts because at the same time over at the Snoe.Shed base lodge is Floodwood (12:30-2) and Jimkata (3:30-5 p.m.) Floodwood features Al Schnier and Vinnie Amico from moe. and are a progressive bluegrass sounding band. While the band is merely 1-year-old, there is already a huge buzz as they've been tearing up festivals and clubs on the east coast with their original brand of 'newgrass.'

Jimakata has been a mainstay of the Northeast for years. Recent traction stemming from the rise of electronic dance music (EDM) has afforded them the opportunity to continue expanding their signature brand of song-oriented electro-rock. Analog synthesizers and heavy bass notes fill the electronic role, while big guitars create space for shredding within the structure of pure indie rock.
moe. will play his first performance Friday night at Spartan Arena in Rutland at 9 p.m.

1--Nor 'Beaster ---Snoe .down -3-Photo -by -Rob -Chapman

On Saturday at the Bear Mountain outdoor stage, Eastbound Jesus (12-12:45 p.m.) will warm up the crowd for moe. who will take the stage at 1 p.m.

moe. will then play his last performance Saturday night at Spartan Arena in Rutland at 9 p.m.

Sunday afternoon at K1, hailing from Portland, Maine, is the Mallet Brothers Band who will take the stage at the K-1 Lodge from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. They earned this spot by winning the Sonicbids contest. This fuel-injected six-piece alt-country rock band describes their eclectic style as comparable to Steve Earle meets the Stones, in a shack in the woods, with electricity and a bottle of bourbon. They've won a lot of awards and Jaehne is really happy to have them on the bill.

"All together this lineup is pretty eclectic and we're really happy to have the support of the communities of both Rutland and Killington," Jaehne says. "We want to be able to offer a wide variety of music... Ultimately, we want to make sure that the bands are active in the scene. We reward the ones that are working really hard. It's a lot of fun picking these bands and working with them."

The headliner of the whole festival, the band that hosts this great weekend, is moe. They will play three concerts Friday and Saturday night at Spartan Arena at 9 p.m. and Saturday afternoon at Bear Mountain.

They've been jamming since 1989 when they were formed at the University of Buffalo. The band consists of Rob Derhak (bass, vocals), Al Schnier (guitar, vocals, keyboard), Chuck Garvey (guitar, vocals), Vinnie Amico (drums), and Jim Loughlin (percussion). Besides snoe.down they also host an annual summer festival called moe.down at Snow Ridge Ski Area in Turin, NY.

Their festival repertoire should be titled "Best festivals in the world" since it includes Gathering of the Vibes, Jazz Fest in New Orleans, High Sierra, Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo which they received a Grammy for their performance on June 23, 2002. That's just a few of the 25 plus festivals they've played. They've also recorded 10 studio albums and 10 live albums.

The band enjoys mixing their shows with the slopes. They just played and skied at Mt Hood in Oregon and Homewood in Lake Tahoe but they're excited to get back and ski Killington. Al Schnier says, "The cool thing about Killington is I can bring my kids and there is something for everyone. It's a great place to ski with your family and I love skiing with our fans too." Everyone in the band skis except for Jim who snowboards but he hasn't gone for a while. Last time they played Killington in 2011, Schnier was having so much fun on the slopes that he tried to get as many runs in before the show as possible. He cut it so close that he skied right up to the stage and played the first set in his ski boots!

They love the destination tours and that is how snoe.down came about. Schnier says, "We've done island destination things, cruises and runs through ski towns like Tahoe and the Rockies. We thought if we could combine all the stuff we like to do and put it all in one place, it would work. Do it in a place where we can ski with our fans and play some shows around the clock, it's a win win. The challenge is finding a place where you can pull it off," he said.

The weekend wraps up with an acoustic moe. brunch at the Wobbly Barn. Schnier ends with "That's a great way to wrap up the weekend. It's my favorite part. We're really looking forward to it."

Just as Grateful Dead followers were coined "Dead Heads," avid moe. fans embrace the term "moe.rons." so come join us and be one this weekend (I've been one since 1998 when I first saw them at the Muse in Nantucket.)

Dave Hoffenberg is a correspondent for The Mountain Times. He can be reached directly at

Photos by Rob Chapman, Miles Weaver and John Gullo