Snoe.Down 2010 PT 1 – The Story
Spartan Arena – Rutland, VT / Killington Ski Resort – Killington, VT
Contributing Writer – Garret K. Woodward [ TheRFW.com/blog/Garret ]
Contributing Photographer – Andrew Wyatt [ TheRFW.com/blog/DirtySanta ]
Thank you nycjamgal08 at YouTube for the video footage.
A half-eaten Subway sandwich and lukewarm can of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Sitting on the back deck of our condo, the last rays of sunshine crashed against the rolling peaks of the Killington Ski Resort. I sat there, consuming my road warrior meal, in awe of not only the aesthetic beauty of the region, but the anxious anticipation of unknown endeavors to come.
Old friends trickled in, while new ones curiously entered the room, wondering what was in store for the weekend. We hoisted our cheap beer high and saluted each other over successfully making the trek to Vermont. Now, with the easy part behind us, it was time for the real challenge- surviving endless sets of whiplash rock-n-roll amid endless recreational opportunities, while under the influence of whatever was ingested with gusto.
Nestled within the Green Mountains, the enormous resort played host to the third installment of the Snoe.Down Winter Music & Sports Festival. Created by prog-rock phenomenon moe., the mythical event is aimed at dusting off the cobwebs and erasing any sense of cabin fever in the northeast.
Pockets jammed full of beers. A crisp, wintry breeze ricocheted throughout the valley Friday evening. Hundreds of moe.rons flocked to bus stops, taxi cabs, or carpools to the Spartan Arena- a hockey rink (sandwiched between a K-Mart garden center and the Diamond Run Mall) used by nearby Castleton State College.
Though a conservative kickoff to the weekend, moe. fired up the overzealous crowd with “Mexico”. Riding the wave of excitement exhibited before them, the quintet (adorned in sharp-dressed suits) belted out “Captain America” > “Four”, onward to a spicy “Queen of Everything”. Bursting at the seams, the scene was ready to gyrate their cares (and a little winter flab) away at the mercy of the improvisational wizards.
“Faker” > “Tailspin” had feathers ruffled. Beads of sweat dripped down endless faces walking outside the melodic sauna to catch their breath. The moment seemed to swirl around the rink during “Spine of a Dog”, which was put into hyper-drive due to a 1 a.m. curfew.
Thousands spewed out of the arena, exchanging numbers and addresses of after-parties. Beer cans cracked open in the parking lot. The sounds of mischief were heard far and wide. Some B-lined it for their respective motel rooms, yet most meandered back to Killington for last call drinks or word-of-mouth shenanigans at condos down the hill, around the corner, or “somewhere over there”.
03/26/10 Spartan Arena, Rutland, VT
Set I: Mexico, Captain America> Four, Queen of Everything, Shoot First> Moth
Set II: Raise A Glass, Faker> Tailspin, Cape Cod Girls> Water> Bearsong> Hector’s Pillow> Timmy Tucker
Encore: She Sends Me, Spine Of A Dog1
1 Double speed due to time constraints
I awoke, disheveled, on top of my somewhat deflated air mattress. Empty liquor bottles and cold pizza littered the room. The stagnant smell of marijuana and stale beer wafted throughout the complex. The true test of ones grit and self-worth in the face of an uphill battle between alcohol tolerance and unrelenting jaunts into the depths of musical servitude is not for the weary or faint-of-heart.
It was Saturday, and I had to muster enough stamina to survive the subsequent 24 hours.
Squeezing into a sardine can (aka the K1 Lodge), teenage prodigies The McLovins captured the hearts of Snoe.Down with their distinctive, and chaotically well-executed, brand of jam-rock. The incredible ebb and flow of these diaper dandies compliments the genuine aptitude for composition brought forth.
“Have you had enough?! Have you had enough?!,” baby-faced drummer Jake Huffman screamed into the microphone- Jeffrey Howard (guitar) and Jason Ott (bass) building up momentum through crashing chords and meaty bass lines.
It was intriguing to watch the crowd point in awe of the tiny stature and timid physical presence the trio displays. Half the people present probably stole lunch money from some kid resembling one of the members.
“People come to our shows expecting to see just this teenage band,” said Huffman afterwards. “But, we make them realize we aren’t a ‘kid band’, we’re a real band. When we’re up onstage, we have no idea where the set may go, but we always go for an adventure, we always have fun. Certain gigs raise the bar for us, and this was one of those gigs.”
Sunshine glared off pristine snow pack. Overpriced Budweiser tallboys and shots of whiskey emptied wallets while filling bellies with much need “go-go juice” for the afternoon moe. extravaganza at the base of Bear Mountain.
“Not Coming Down” > “Wormwood” > “Okayalright” stimulated the fatigued and unkempt hordes. Smiles were found below sunglasses aimed upward. Skiers and snowboards, like ants on a hill, dotted and crisscrossed the landscape.
As soon as it came, the performance ceased, leaving mobs of people running towards the scarce number of commuter buses heading back into the community. Bladders were pent up. Faces were long and drawn-out. Back to the room to rekindle a second wind.
03/27/10 Killington – Bear Mountain, Killington, VT
Set I: St. Augustine, Skrunk, Not Coming Down> Wormwood> Okayalright, Akimbo, Crab Eyes, Happy Hour Hero> Seat Of My Pants> Sensory Deprivation Bank
Encore: Down Boy
No rest for the timid, though.
With around a 100 in attendance during Assembly of Dust at the Spartan Arena, loyalty lay in the hands of the few. There was seemingly enough space to play a pick-up street hockey match while renowned singer/songwriter Reid Genauer commenced the final evening at Snoe.Down.
Though his signature vocal talents (“Telling Sue”) and stage presence astound fans and the unaware alike, it’s a continual frustration to witness the glass ceiling AOD struggles to breakthrough and capture a larger audience or perhaps garner that elusive festival headlining slot.
The crowd perimeter eventually grew like a oceanic high tide. “Revelry” pinnacled the performance through the spiraling guitar of Adam Terrell- quite possible the most underrated, or best unknown, finger menace in the jam circuit.
Folkgrass aficionados Railroad Earth egged on observers even further. Their timeless, silky smooth selections left wintry souls with a taste of summer innocence not to far off, according to the calendar. Feet were provoked into a jig, a foot-stomp, in celebration of the only true East Coast rebuttal to the String Cheese Incident.
The cold concrete floor rapidly filled with freewheeling hipsters. Their faces were manic. Their heads bobbing to the endless groove already playing in their heads. Though standing and awaiting moe.re madness, several seemed to fall into invisible trap doors invoked by purposeful intents of finding alternate forms of reality. The blob of Saturday night freaks spilled over into dimly light corners and bleachers aligning the steel walls.
“Wind It Up” streamlined the previous sets with a casual engine crank for the band. The energy of each song seemed to stack onto the last. A euphoric sentiment radiated between those onstage and off (“Plane Crash”).
The arena slowly and steadily became an incubator. A cloud of moisture and second-hand smoke rose above and smacked one in the face like a wet, smelly towel. “The Road” > “Lazarus” > “The Road” segued the latter half with unrelenting waves of composition breakdowns, continually crashing into the sea of humanity (“Blue Jeans Pizza” > “Bring It Back Home”). Sing-a-longs emerged (“New York City”) at the culmination of Snoe.Down, for this year at least.
Troves flowed out into the Bible-black night. After-parties ensued into the wee hours of Sunday morning because “we can’t go to bed till all this fuckin’ beer is gone”.
03/27/10 Spartan Areana, Rutland, VT
Set I: Wind It Up> Spaz Medicine, Understand, Stranger Than Fiction> Cissy Strut1> Stranger Than Fiction, Plane Crash
Set II: Threw It All Away, The Road> Lazarus> The Road, Blue Jeans Pizza> Bring It Back Home, Nebraska, Opium> 32 Things
Encore: Willin’, New York City
1 Last time played 07/22/01 (773 shows)
While the God-fearing were in church, slaves to the groove were still rejoicing in the sweet nectar of Saturday night. Many passed out on unknown couches, though numerous hardcore weekend ragers gathered enough resilience to tackle the slick slopes of Killington for another shot at reckless recreational redemption. For those willing to plunk down the extra dough, moe. conducted an intimate brunch set at the legendary Wobbly Barn.
03/28/10 Wobbly Barn, Killington, VT
Set I: Salt Creek, Shoot First, Gone, Shake Your Hips, Tambourine, Captain America> She, Deep This Time> Meat
1 With Rob. & Al.’s kids starting it off with “Pigs Can Fly” vocals
For others, low on funds, serenity was discovered in the K1 Lodge at the hands of Red Rooster. The cradling sound of the Brooklyn folkies was a poignant end to a raucous weekend in the heart of New England.
Though it was on hiatus for the last two years, Snoe.Down hasn’t missed a beat. It’s a Godsend in a sometimes unforgiving time of year in the North Country. Three days of musical harmony break up the monotony of winter and remind all of us the childlike joy we pursue relentlessly each summer, yet forget once the leaves change and we head back to our day jobs.