When: 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Where: Ogden Theatre, 935 E. Colfax Ave., Denver,
More info: ogdentheater.net
O ver the course of a two-decade career, moe. has kept things interesting for fans and the band members.
It's a delicate balance. It means maintaining a balance between musical evolution and staying the same band everyone loves. In just about as many albums as the band has years, moe. kept the old fans, made new ones and experimented with the sound.
"It's pretty much the same for anyone who's had any measure of success. We've had a really strong, loyal following," said guitarist Chuck Garvey. "To completely change what we're all about would be insulting to them and maybe to ourselves. But it would be nice to recreate yourself every year or two. Maybe it's just unique enough or it's refreshing to see a band doing what we're doing. It's tough to say."
The simplest way to classify moe. is to call them a jam band. For the most part, the music is straight rock 'n' roll, but you can hear hints of just about everything else in there, and of course, there are the extended improvisations. But each record sounds different, and this year's What Happened to the La Las stands out as a return closer to straight rock, plus some more polished production from John Travis.
The record is the first collection of originals since 2008, and the first time in what seems like ages that moe. has worked with a producer. It's something that keeps things interesting for them and their fans.
"We had been self-producing everything for a long time and that was another way to shake things up," Garvey said. "Sticks and Stones was all completely self-produced, self-made. And actually, that was really fun. It was something we were working up to for a while, just getting all the gear together and moving into a church [converted to a studio] and kind of living right on top of it. You'd wake up in the morning and start working out ideas."
For La Las, moe. set a three- to four-week time frame, with all the songs written in advance. Bringing in a producer helped keep them zeroed in on the creative goal and push for something better.
"We knew we had to get X amount of work accomplished and it was working under those strict parameters that helped us really focus on it," Garvey said. "[John Travis] had a way of saying, 'I think you can do better or you can do it this way,' and it was good to have someone to remind us of what we were trying to accomplish on a day-to-day basis."
Garvey also said that just having a new record to work on or play keeps things interesting on the road. And it better, because moe. has a jam-packed tour schedule from now until March. Much of that comes from rescheduling shows the band had to cancel this summer -- and that includes these two nights at the Ogden -- due to drummer Vinnie Amico's illness.
The good news is, Amico is healthy and back behind the kit, and so moe. is back on the road, keeping things exciting for at least another year.