Funny thing about moe., I'm confident that if I stopped 15 people on the street and said the band's name, I'd be lucky to get more than one or two acknowledgments of who they are and what the New York-based quintet sounds like, and that's despite the group's 20-year career.

Now there are tons of fine, relatively obscure bands, but one thing that makes moe. different is that while walking up to Wednesday night's gig at The Depot, I talked to a guy who had seen moe. the week before - in San Francisco.

That level of loyalty is not nearly as common and is generally reserved for much-wider known bands. But these guys play for their fans and their fans reward them with loyalty and enthusiasm.

So yes, there are widely varying levels of interest in the group, which opened their Salt Lake stop on the tour, with the favorite from 2001's "Dither," the oh-so clever "Captain America."

The band's six-song first set was just under an hour and other highlights included "Faker" and the set-closing "Down Boy."

The beer-swilling crowd seemed to dance the hardest however during the second set opening two-fer of "Runaway Overlude">"Silver Sun."

Critics of the band who say they're somewhat derivative or that their songs are too long would have had a field day with these songs as the pairing seemed to touch on the Grateful Dead's "Other One," the Allman Brothers Band's "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed," and then Pink Floyd's "Time." Total running time for the pairing?

About 35 minutes.

But the crowd sure didn't mind and the area down front was filled with fist-pumping dancers moving to the rapid-fire beat laid down by the group's two-man rhythm section of drummer Vinnie Amico alongside percussionist and multi-instrumentalist Jim Loughlin.

One thing no moe.-naysayer could say is that these guys can't play: Bassist Rob Derhak is criminally underrated and led funky charges through "Ricky Marten" and "Buster." But guitarists Chuck Garvey and Al Schnier are the real stars of the show. Schnier ripped off a long series of blazing leads during "Akimbo," while Garvey led the way through "Runaway Overlude."

The band's nearly two and a half-hour show was topped by the double-encore of "Hi & Lo," and "Big World," - both from 1998's "Tin Cans and Car Tires."

As part of its ongoing celebration of its 20th anniversary, the band heads to Japan next week for four shows. Doubtlessly, more than a few of the folks from Salt Lake's show would make the trip if they could.

Here's Wednesday night's setlist:

I: Captain America > Akimbo, Faker > Ricky Marten > Skrunk > Down Boy

II: Runaway Overlude >Silver Sun, Billy Goat >Mar-DeMa > Bearsong, Bring It Back Home > Buster

Encore: Hi & Lo > Big World