Despite the muffled sound, Moe's self-released live album Loaf (1996) is a heartily exciting listen, capturing the young band on the verge of busting out of both their home club, New York's Wetlands Preserve, as well as onto the rapidly developing Northeastern jam band scene. It is evident in their young voices, as they sing through rough around the edges renditions of their early live staples. It is evident in their playing, which is brazenly adventurous, especially compared to the polished rock show they would develop in several years. Behind the drum kit is drummer number three, Mike Strazza, making his only appearance on an official Moe recording. His drumming is admirably precise and filled with quick, clean fills (such as on "Buster"); a baby version of Jeff Sipe of the Aquarium Rescue Unit. In a year, four of the six songs would be tightened up and re-recorded in the studio with producer John Porter for No Doy, their major-label debut on Sony/550. While No Doy captures fully realized versions of the songs, Loaf is far more interesting, if only because jam band music has never about fully realized versions of songs. Listening to the band make its way through "Meat" on Loaf, one hears a band playing music that screams in dozens of directions. This is the sound of a band with time to pursue them all.
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AllMusic Review by Jesse Jarnow
feat: Al Schnier
feat: Rob Derhak