Our intergalactic explorations of Moogfest took us to the farthest reaches of the electro-dance party galaxy and beyond. By the time we joined in the spontaneous orgasmic-scream that erupted among the masses as we streamed out of the Civic Center late Sunday night, we had been totally converted to this new and most epic of downtown Asheville music festivals. Thankfully, it seems that Moogfest is poised to launch into annual orbit, as AC Entertainment Captain and concert promoter/pioneer Ashley Caps beamed us a message that the festival went great and “will definitely be back in the next year.” Cheers to that: May Moogfest live long and prosper.
Here’s a roundup from Day Three and beyond. Check out our complete coverage at www.mountainx.com/moogfest/
– Jake Frankel
Best use of maraca and cowbell: Hot Chip
Hot Chip was a festival, a carnival, a celebration and exultation. All of these words may connote the same thing — joy exclaimed — but that joy had as many facets as Hot Chip had instruments: it requires a term for every facet. There were drums and synthesizers, vocals alone and in harmony, and maracas. And at least 2,000 people dancing. Everyone. Perhaps it was the contagion of the band’s elated performance, but everything in that room was moving. It was near the end of the night at the end of the three-day festival and the end of Hot Chip’s North American tour. All the exhilaration, exhaustion, hangovers and toothaches had their release. This brief review may be disproportionately positive; all the possible linguistic hyperbole couldn’t match the actual enthusiasm demonstrated by this excellent ensemble. “I only wanna be your one life stand… keep on feeling.” It’s a courageous proposal, and one that will be refused 10 times before it’s followed once. The marvel of the show was that, as soon as they lit the wick and through to the third encore song, Hot Chip created a world where open feeling and its energetic, shameless expression are the basic function, the instinct and constant behavior — not violence, greed, breeding, conquest and everything else that seems to be all we are capable of giving the world.
– Jaye Bartell
@JakeFrankel: Hot Chip sounds like how the care bears would sound if they were in a band. #moogfest
Best drummer at the fest: Adam Deitch of Pretty Lights
Best dance party of Day Three: Pretty Lights
Pretty Lights capped the festival off with a raging Sunday night halloween dance party that was like heaven for devotees of hip-hop influenced electro-dance music. Producer/musician Derek Smith layered old-school soul samples and cutting-edge electro-sounds into a unique fusion of the best of both worlds. After two days of warm-up moves, the costumed masses were in fine form on the dance floor, jiggling and shaking themselves into psychedelic-light (and possibly drug) enhanced oblivion. It was a wonderful reception for the Colorado-based Smith, who has blown up across the country since making his Asheville debut at the Emerald Lounge just a couple short years back. On this visit, he was armed with new drummer, Adam Deitch, who absolutely crushed the skins.
@SocialLifeAvl: This by far is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen live. Hip Hop at it’s best level. Pretty Lights……#moogfest
Best costume of the weekend: The neon-flashing and dancing purple pac-man ghost.
– Jake Frankel
Best act with an (unintentionally) Halloween appropriate name: DJ Spooky
DJ Spooky’s set opened ethereally, scholastic even – offering a dramatic juxtaposition to the boisterous revelry outside of the hushed, darkened club. Spooky, specifically his grad-school professor persona, began his noticeably short show dropping phrases like “string theory” and “quantum physics” in lieu of beats. He started the performance accompanied by a woodwind quartet, video projections of planets and spiraling galaxies and an airy, ghostly soundtrack. With the cool, spacey-sonic wash of sound and the rushing images of the cosmos on the screens, the Orange Peel, even with its beer-sticky floor, was transformed into a miniature I-Max theater. Until, that is, Spooky wrapped up his universal theater, the woodwinds exited stage left, Spooky’s DJ-self emerged, fist pumping, to launch into a bass-heavy, danceable thumping mash-up of sounds. The crowd breathed a sigh of relief and leapt into action as well. As arresting as the show’s opener was, the spectators gathered at the Peel had come to throw down. Bloody, grainy images of old, kerchiefed ladies butchering meat with cleavers replaced the cosmic imagery on the video screens. Happy Halloween, Moogfesters. Spooky toyed with hip-hop, funk, pop. His layering of the electro-dancehall Groove Armada tune, “Superstylin,” with Dead Prez’ rib-cage rattling, bass-heavy anthem “Hip Hop,” whipped the crowd into a churning, pulsing, bouncing sea of bodies. Then just like that … it was over.
– Mackensy Lunsford
Next big thing: Two Fresh
Two Fresh are local/regional favorites in the jam-tronica scene. Two Fresh are identical twin brothers, Sherwyn and Kendrick Nicholls, accompanied live by drummer Colby Buckler. In the past few years, they have gone from playing small shows at local venues such as The Emerald Lounge to touring nationally, opening for bands like Sound Tribe Sector 9, and playing the festival circuit at events like Camp Bisco. Two Fresh were notably the first local/regional act to be booked onto the Moogfest bill and have garnered a well-deserved following. Despite that fact, their set was very early in the night, beginning at 6:30. The crowd for them in the Civic Center was rather large though, and they played a very tight set. These twins have a real knack for keeping a crowd dancing and kept the Civic Center bumping.
– Par Neiburger
Best/Only Syrian superstar at Moogfest: Omar Souleyman
A Haiku review:
Taxi rides through third world streets,
head out the window.
– Jake Frankel
I couldn’t wait to see Omar Souleyman’s performance. I have been a big fan of his for over a year now, ever since my friend Andrew and I got turned onto his music by a recommendation we heard in an NPR interview with Bjork. After getting his album ‘Highway to Hassake,’ it’s been a secret treasure for us. I was extremely excited that he was billed on the Moogfest line-up and it was a telling example of the eclectic range of electronic music the festival presented. Souleyman has been described as Syrian techno. His performance includes live vocals with keyboard accompaniment playing an odd range of electronic beats, mixed with samples of traditional Middle-Eastern hand percussion. There was not a big crowd when he began his performance, but the venue filled up toward the middle of his set. He kept the venue dancing wildly the entire time. Though it is likely many people there were hearing him for the first time, I’m fairly certain everyone there walked away fans.
– Par Neiburger
Moogfest act with the most repetitive name: Shout Out Out Out Out
The first act to open Moogfest on Sunday was Shout Out Out Out Out (yes, that’s four Outs). I was not familiar with this band going in. Their sound was a live band synth-pop blend ala modern hipster culture. I was taking bets after listening to five minutes of it that they were from Brooklyn, but they turned out to be Canadian. I was not particularly impressed with them, though this may be a simple taste issue, as my friend Nora seemed to really like them and they have a decent crowd dancing to their entire set.
– Par Neiburger
Thump and Mindelixir
Stella Blue was Sunday-night host to local/regional dubstep favorites DJ Thump and Mindelixir. Thump was voted #1 DJ in Asheville this year in the Mountain Xpress reader’s poll (tied for 1st place with 4 time winner DJ Bowie). Thump was the owner and operator of Club 828 /Hookah Bar until recently, two venues that were largely responsible for events that gave seed to the burgeoning electronic music scene in Asheville. Many events at Club 828 and The Hookah Bar over the past few years helped establish the electronic scene in Asheville that helped allow an event like Moogfest to be successful. Thumps plays sets of grimy, deep, dubstep. He’s got a great knack for keeping a crowd, well, thumping.
Midelixir is a Charlotte-based dubstep procuder that has been gathering a solid fan-base over the last several years. Every single track on his recent album ‘Mindelixir Presents Music for Funerals and Banks’ charted on beatport’s top 100 for electronica. His monthly “Bass Church” event in Charlotte has a loyal following of over 1,000 people annually. It’s become the event in Charlotte for the area’s growing dusbtep scene. Mindelixir is slowly becoming a regional name not to be overlooked.
– Par Neiburger
Dispatchs from the Twitterverse on the day after:
@moogmusic Thank you Asheville, bigger thank you AC ENT & biggest thank you to BOB! Love, Moog. #moogfest #epic #love
@CPTHYPEDRIVE #moogfest was the shit. By far the best Halloween ever!!!
@JakeFrankel: OH the morning after #moogfest as I spilled sweet tea all over the table at Over Easy: “Imagine if ice stayed frozen forever.”
@JakeFrankel: Joined by special guests cheese grits, biscuit and eggs! RT @JayeBartell: Croissant sandwich about to take stage #moogfest
@Ashevegas: Today, asheville is hangover city, issue. #moogfest
@jonathanammons: If there has ever been a better cultural event than #MoogFest for Avl then none of us must have been alive to see it.
@mrshoutshout: can’t help but feel a little proud RT @NewRaleigh The floor at Thomas Wolfe just broke from all the dancing. #moogfest
@LAnderson28: Best two days ever. #moogfest
@ursulagullow: I’m bummed it was so pricey. #moogfest RT @ukulelerockstar Free vs. not free RT @bentmatches: That was so much more fun than bele chere.
@BlogAsheville: Gods of music, send him help RT @timothypeck: Is it possible to block anything to do with the mindnumbingly boring #moogfest ?
@thepetelutz: #moogfest recovery made possible by earplugs and ibuprofen.
@BlogAsheville: Moog + amazing music + Asheville + Halloween + AC Entertainment = TOTAL WIN for Asheville. Think we did Bob proud. #Moogfest
Acts we’d most like to see play next year:
@JakeFrankel: Daft Punk, Outkast, Bjork, Radiohead, Dr. Dre
@BlurtMagazine: I want to see Phoenix!!
@BlurtMagazine: Nortec Collective – AGAIN!
@jason_a_holland: Aphex Twin, MF DOOM
@rsulock: DAFT PUNK! LCD Soundsystem
@JayeBartell: PJ Harvey, Portishead, Brian Eno
– Jake Frankel