The Lab

The Lab is a nonprofit experimental art and performance space located in the Mission District of San Francisco.

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Moe! Staiano Ensemble & Ava Mendoza

Photos by Michael Zelner.

8pm Doors / 8:30pm Sound

The Moe! Staiano Ensemble plays Away Towards the Light, a guitar ensemble in three movements. Ava Mendoza will open.

Moe! Staiano is an experimental composer, drummer, percussionist, songwriter and multi-instrumental performance artist who has been at the forefront of the Bay Area improvisation scene for over a decade. He was the conductor and composer for Moe!kestra!, a large-ensemble avant garde orchestra, which can feature over 30 musicians playing everything from violins, clarinets and cellos to drum kits, oscillators and electric guitars. Moe!kestra! performances are high-energy, electrifying experiences that create unique and memorable soundscapes that intrigue and beguile. Moe!kestra! performed from 1997 to 2013. Since 2013, Moe! has gone on to compose for small ensembles that he conducts from time to time, which he now bills as the Moe! Staiano Ensemble.

He plays the occasional solo show every now and then. Moe!'s innovative solo percussion shows feature prepared drum kit, found objects, audio looping and the inventive use of a "percussion guitar" woven in with performance art, which always gets the audience involved and eagerly expectant of what might happen next.

He was a former member of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Vacuum Tree Head and Mute Socialite (which also featured Ava Mendoza). His current band, Surplus 1980, has been his latest musical offering since 2009, and complete a large ensemble recording that will featuring the vocals of G.W. Sok, former vocalist of the Ex.


Karl Alfonso Evangelista: Guitar
Jay Korber: Guitar
Jacob McCann: Guitar
Matt Montgomery: Guitar
Melne Murphy: Guitar: Guitar
Damon Waitkus: Guitar
Robin Walsh: Guitar
Drew Wheeler: Guitar
Bill Wolter: Guitar
Vicky Grossi: Bass
Moe! Staiano: Drums, compositions
Suki O'Kane: Conductor

Ava Mendoza plays guitars and stompboxes and writes music. She is currently based in Brooklyn, NY. She has toured throughout the U.S. and Europe and recorded or performed with a broad spectrum of musicians including singer Carla Bozulich (The Geraldine Fibbers, Evangelista), Fred Frith (Massacre, Henry Cow, Art Bears), Nels Cline, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Weasel Walter, Tune-Yards, and more. She has played on recordings released by labels Weird Forest, Tzadik, Clean Feed, NotTwo, ugEXPLODE, Resipiscent, New Atlantis, and others.

Critics have called Mendoza "Oakland's avant-jazz virtuoso" (Brad Cohan, Village Voice), "a versatile and virtuosic guitarist" (The San Francisco Film Society), "a wizard on a semi-circle of effects pedals, but… equally adept with FX-less technique," (Lars Gotrich, A Blog Supreme/NPR Jazz). She was recently named one of Guitar World‘s “10 Female Guitarists You Should Know”.

Earlier Event: January 12
Constance Hockaday: Noise Club