Monday, November 7, 2011

Moogfest Review

This past Halloween weekend, I attended Moogfest in Asheville, NC and was graced with a constant barrage of quality shows for three debaucherous nights.  Due to the permanently unprepared nature of my group of friends, I ended up missing the first couple rounds of shows on Friday, and much to my chagrin had to accept the fact that Little Dragon cancelled on me and did not in fact make their 8pm scheduled appearance at the Civic Center.  Below is a brief recap of my Moogfest experience, some of my favorite performances of the weekend, and of course, some relevant tracks that you’d be foolish not to add to your library.

We started off our Friday night with Moby at the Asheville Civic Center.  I was rather excited for a repeat of his Electric Zoo 2010 performance in NYC where he provided a pulsating crowd with an onslaught of glitchy house music and captivating LCD visuals, but I was sadly let down by what transpired.  Instead of his usual arsenal of a mixer and cdj’s, Moby brought with him a live band comprised of a vocalist, a violin player, a live drummer, a bass player, and himself on guitar, vocals, and … conga drums.  Maybe he was trying to prove something about the legitimacy of his musicianship?  But alas he merely sounded like a poorly arranged 80’s cover band… cheesy guitar riffs accompanied by lackluster vocals, oh yeah and conga drums.  Anyways, I’ll stop being mean to Moby. 

We left after about 20 minutes in order to make the half-mile trek over to the Orange Peel to catch Zomby.  This was one of those shows that I attended on relatively blind faith on recommendation from a friend, and it turned out to be one of the better shows of the weekend. Hailing from the UK (like most great producers these days…), Zomby began producing music in 2007 and has since garnered releases on labels such as Werk Discs and the notorious Hyperdub Records.  With his own genre bending style of smooth dub/dubstep/bassmusic, Zomby had the entire house moving from the moment he turned on his equipment.  With not much time to spare before Flying Lotus, we were only able to stay for about 40 minutes, but it was a 40 minutes well spent.

Zomby – Things Fall Apart feat. Panda Bear

Zomby - Float

Aphex Twin – Donkey Rhubarb

We made it back to Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, a strangely seated venue, just in time to catch Flying Lotus.  This show was something I have been looking forward to for quite some time and it turned out to be everything I wanted.  I was put into a trance by his genius mixing techniques and impeccable taste. 

Africa Hitech – Out in The Streets

Flying Lotus – Zodiac Shift

Flying Lotus – Astral Plane

Tyler The Creator – Yonkers

After closing with Astral Plane, the crowd would not give up.  We cheered him into an encore performance, and in typical FlyLo fashion, he opened with Hard in Da Paint by Waka Flocka Flame… which in any other context is rather absurd… but made absolute sense considering who was on the decks.


Saturday was quite a joyous day indeed.  During our pre-festival activities, we donned our half-assed Halloween costumes (except Kat.. who really went hard in the paint with her Catwoman costume) and headed for the Civic Center to catch SBTRKT and Sampha

SBTRKT and Crystal Castles performed during the same time slots and it was a tough call to make, but in retrospect, I am confident that I made the right decision.  Their stage setup was complicated and intimidating.  SBTRKT was seated at a drum set that was partially live drums including hi-hats, a kick drum, and cymbals, in addition to a myriad of drum kit pads that he utilized throughout the set.  Sampha was on the other hand was equipped with simply a mic and a keyboard.  Between them was a long table filled with laptops, midi controllers, and a bunch of other machines with lots of knobs and dials…  Needless to say the show was a great success.  Maybe not as wonderful as I was expecting/hoping for, but what really made the performance for me was Sampha’s vocals.  He has a miraculous voice and sings with passion on every song.  He controlled a portion of the vocal effects and synths in addition to getting in a little dancing here and there.  For me, Something Goes Right, featuring godlike Sampha, stole the show

SBTRKT – Something Goes Right feat. Sampha

SBTRKT – Right Thing To Do feat. Jessie Ware

Radiohead – Lotus Flower (SBTRKT Remix)

Honorable Mentions: After SBTRKT we went over to the Orange Peel to see Twin Shadow before heading to the outdoor venue, Animoog, to catch The Flaming Lips throw giant balloons filled with glitter and confetti into the audience…

Amon Tobin was our next stop.  This was one of the most remarkable live shows I’ve seen in a while.  The display, which absolutely incredible,  was made up of a bunch of white cubes stacked up at the back of the stage and a giant HD Projector.  From start to finish he played a seamless set of bizarre sound effects, crushing bass, and abstract pieces of tracks that I’d never heard.  It was truly a cinematic experience.  Check the video below for footage.

Kode9 was the last show of the night, and to be honest, it was my favorite show of the entire weekend.  Kode9 is (you could have guessed) a London based producer and owner of renowned Hyperdub Records.  His set included a whole slew of different styles from dub, to old-school jungle, two step garage, drum and bass.  This man is an extremely knowledgeable musician and professor.  In 2009, he released his own book, Sonic Warfare, which entails essays on the use of sound in terms of politics, government, and fear.  It explores our subconscious relationship with music/sound/noise and attempts to depict how sound can be used with extreme effectiveness to control behavior and influence moods.

Burial – Archangel

Warren G - Regulate

Kode 9 - Essential BBC 1 Radio Mix


Now if you happened to read our review of HARD Summer in LA, then you already know that James Murphy & Pat Mahoney put together the most soulful deep disco dance sets that anyone has ever heard.  This show was a religious experience.  James nonchalantly stole my heart that night.

Chic – I Want Your Love (Dimitri from Paris Remix)

Donald Byrd - Love Has Come Around

For more tracks from James Murphy and Pat Mahoney's Special Disco Version sets, visit this website for a comprehensive tracklist and free download.

The last noteworthy show of the night was Ghostland Observatory.  The lead singer has a ridiculous amount of energy and runs back and forth across the stage waving his flowing locks and screaming into the mic.  It is really quite a special sight.  This performance was much less focused on the vocals and guitar than on the digital release.  Instead, they cranked up the bass and the volume on their electronic accompaniments and turned the place into a straight up dance floor.  The lasers were a nice touch as well… I thought I was going to have a seizure.  Anyways… Great weekend, great festival, great shows.  See y’all there next year.

Ghostland Observatory – Piano Man

Ghostland Observatory – Midnight Voyage

Ghostland Observatory – Sad Sad City

Love, Patrick

1 comment:

  1. the only better thing flylo couldve played is this: