We asked our staff and DJs at the Blue Echo to provide commentary reflecting their experience at this year’s Moogfest, hosted here in beautiful Asheville, NC.
The bombastic experience that was Moogfest 2011 has come and gone, and with that I present my awards for what was personally one of the best music experience ever (Disclaimer: while my opinions may be life changing and awe inspiring, they are just one man’s humble opinion).
WHAT I SAW: The Antlers, Holy Fuck, Tangerine Dream, Moby, TV on the Radio, Dan Deacon, Crystal Castles, Tim Hecker, Amon Tobin, Beats Antique, Childish Gambino, Passion Pit, Umphrey’s McGee
TV on the Radio
BEST SHOW: Moby - I went in wondering it he still had it. I left wondering if he’ll ever lose it.
MOST DISAPPOINTING SHOW: Tim Hecker - I heard great things about Tim Hecker coming into the show. Not my thing. His dreamy synth sounds almost put me asleep before Amon Tobin.
SHOW I’M MOST DISAPPOINTED I MISSED: Flying Lotus - Apparently Flying Lotus brought the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium down. Too bad half the crowd was waiting outside.
SHOW I WANT FOR NEXT YEAR: Is it to early to ask James Murphy to reform LCD Soundsystem?
FLYING LOTUS: Steven Ellison, aka Flying Lotus, delivered a much anticipated performance at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium Friday night. Loud and abrasive, yet warm and welcoming, we kept a smiles on our faces. People felt directly connected because they were. And the sounds mixed flawlessly. Ellison messed up once or twice, but it did not matter. He laughed, we laughed. Come back to Asheville Steven, we want you.
JOHN MAUS: After listening to John Maus give an interview listing his musical, philosophical, and personal influences, it was obvious that his performance was not to be missed. Maus’ delivery on stage was both vocal and physical as he interacted personally with the crowd. We screamed, we danced, and we hit ourselves in the face. As a solo artist, it would be nearly impossible to translate the sounds on his record to a live performance. Instead, Maus sang-a-long to his own music, breaking boundaries between what a live show ought to be.
EOTO: Eoto epitomized the Moogfest experience. There were electronic melodies, beats, and rhythms synced to psychedelic visuals. The Orange Peel was vibrant as the crowd ceased to stop moving.
JAMES MURPHY AND PAT MAHONEY: I love LCD Soundsystem, but man can these two put on a solid DJ performance. Underground, perhaps very rare, disco records were mixed. These sounds together have never been heard by anyone except the crowd at Moogfest.
James Murphy and Pat Mahoney
The Drums at HARVEST RECORDS
On Sunday, October 30th, The Drums played an acoustic, five song set at Harvest Records in West Asheville. My radio counterpart, Zack Michener, and I have no convenient transportation, so we decided to bike there because, hey, it’s The Drums. This show was a sort of a godsend, because neither one of us had the funds to swing a Moogfest ticket and we both love The Drums.
We began our bike trek up to Harvest Records around three, and we arrived a few minutes before they came out to play at 4:10. The store was pretty well packed, since we Drums fans are a dedicated bunch, but the layout of the store was such that we could still see what was going on with the band.
The guys came out, and started the jam with a song from their eponymous album, My Best Friend. After that, they led into my personal favorite, “Book of Stories.” They played three more after that, all from their new album Portamento, which I have yet to purchase but have high hopes for.
For those of you who know The Drums, you might be skeptical (as I was) about their abilities to convey their mainly electronically created songs into an acoustical format, but I can assure you that their brilliance shines through. After they were done, the various band members were milling about the store, so Zack and I figured we could go talk to them.
We happened to catch the lead singer, a good looking chap with blonde hair by the name of Jonathan Pierce. We waited behind some other fans who were already talking to him, but they all left together, much to our surprise, so we were left as Jonathan’s center of attention.
The details are vague for me here, as it is with all such awesome people I meet, but I do remember shaking his hand and telling him that we love their music. He replied with something offhandedly witty, giving me the impression that he was used to, but not quite at peace with, people complimenting his music. He asked if we were going to be at their show later at Moogfest, and when we replied that sadly, we could not afford tickets, he told us to wait there for a minute while he checked something.
We stood there anxiously for a few minutes, and when he returned, he said that he was sorry he couldn’t help us out, but one of his band mates had all of his family there, so their guest list was completely full. We laughed and thanked him for the effort, wished him a good show, and that was that.
Even though we didn’t get the pleasure of going to Moogfest, we’ll always have the memory of the beautifully swelling music inside Harvest Records, along with the knowledge that Jonathan Pierce tried to get us on The Drums’ guest list for Moogfest. For this year, that’s enough for me.
The variety of musical styles presented by each act was pleasantly surprising. On Friday, the first act I saw was Moby, who I walked in on at the very end where he was shirtless and standing on a pedestal in a Christ pose as lights and electronic drums pounded the senses, the epitome of epic rave. Flying Lotus was impossible to get into with a huge crowd left outside. Ending the night was Araabmuzik, who performed his beats all by hand, pounded out skillfully on a drum =machine. Saturday was quite a day, with synthesis workshops where you could play your own Moog early on, followed by Crystal Castles blaring their infectious brand of chiptune electro.
Tim Hecker did interesting ambient soundscapes leading up to the big show of the night, Amon Tobin’s immersive audio visual experience, ISAM, which blew everyone’s mind completely into another universe without question. Kode9 finished Saturday with masterful DJ skills to a full house who couldn’t get enough of his vinyl wizardry. Sunday was also really fun, with great acts like Beats Antique, M83, and finally for me James Murphy (of LCD Soundsystem) spinning and mixing up rare
funky jams under a giant disco ball!
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