Dispatches from Moogfest: Day two

While the musical acts are, no doubt, the main attraction, the costumes make for prime entertainment as well. Here are some of the looks captured by photographer Halima Flynt:

Says Jake Frankel: “People really stepped up their costume game on day two. Among the coolest costumed moments was the choreographed alien dance during Dan Deacon’s afternoon set outside at the Animoog Playground. Also, mad props to whoever brought the big ‘Air Swimmer’ fish balloons in to the Civic Center and Thomas Wolfe. At one point during the late-night Battles show, there were three of the majestic air-fishes floating slowly through the air, providing an eerily majestic (and trippy) contrast to the band’s intense bombast.”

Twin Shadow was my personal favorite of the night. I know, I know — Flaming Lips, Battles, Amon Tobin — but there something so sweet and 80s-reminiscent about lead singer George Lewis, Jr. For his Orange Peel set he’d traded his pampadour for a Boy George-style hat and a leather jacket. His sound, with the full band, was saturated and moody, yet dancey. It was the kind of show that didn’t take much thought — it was easy just to be in the room.

Haiku Review: Twin Shadow
80s as Stringsteen
dripping tender heart from sleev
and muscle car beats
        — Alli Marshall

Here’s a missive from Justin Souther on Suicide (pictured) and postcards:

“Friday afternoon, Moogfest held a press conference with Alan Vega and Martin Rev, the two members of the highly influential electronic outfit Suicide. Towards the end of the press conference — while discussing their current influences — they began to discuss their love of postcards. Vega spoke about being in Venice, inside a city and country filled with great museums and great works of art, but constantly finding himself drawn to a local merchant who sold postcards of all these wonderful, famous paintings. He continued — and Rev agreed — that the postcards were preferable to the real thing, because you could take them with you and look at them whenever you like. No waiting in museum queues, no dealing with crowds. The one exception, Rev pointed out, is when they were simply wowed by the size of a painting, mentioning seeing Rembrandt’s work in the flesh for the first time, and being enamored with its sheer physical enormity.”


Haiku Review: Dan Deacon
Music, exercise,
tripped out psychotherapy!
Good start to the day.
    — Jake Frankel

Haiku Review: Crystal Castles
Sexy robot voice
and ferocious beats: good combo.
I danced my ass off!
      — Jake Frankel

The most quotable show of the night award goes to The Flaming Lips. A few of lead-singer Wayne Coyne’s pearls (uttered, mind you, from the outdoor Animoog Stage when temps had dipped to bone-chilling):

“This is the coolest f**king festival that could ever be!”

“This is about being weird and going for it. We owe Mr. Moog a great deal of gratitude.”

“I was talking to the mayor backstage and she said it was cool if you want to smoke pot during this next song!”

“Take care, stay warm, and we’ll see you out in the world, muthaf**kas!”

And a few images from that not-soon-to-be-forgotten set:

The not-yet-sure-if-it-was-awesome-or-not-so-awesome show award goes to Amon Tobin. His set at the Asheville Civic Center came with a lot of hype. A lot.. It’s all about the LED set. Tobin DJs from an 8-foot cube with the geometric structure of his stage set. The entire set is a wash in light and images that often appear as if the stacked cubes are falling or shifting. Mid-show tweets included:

• @sirensusan Words cannot describe the art being created before my eyes

• @BobbyPostEcho #amontobin is re-creating the universe, or so it seems

• @DrewFindley #amontobin graphically, musically dope.

• @rorris: Amon Tobin setup surprisingly small and disappointing despite the badass engineering that went into it.

• @veryanal At Amon Tobin. I keep waiting for the starting line up for your Chicago Bulls to be introduced.

An image:

And some thoughts from Miles Britton: “Like everyone else in the Civic Center, I was floored by the visual brilliance of Amon Tobin’s memorizing, swirling/pulsing/shimmering stack of cubes. It was like Darren Aronofsky had taken over Q*bert. I could have sat there all night watching the burst of digital showers and the dreamy, 30-foot puffs of smoke curling across the screens. If I ever take acid, that’s the trip I want to take. Oh, yeah, and there was music, too.”


St. Vincent (guitar goddess Annie Clark) packed the Thomas Wolfe Auditorum, performing a fairly straight-forward rock set. Clark takes the kind of guitar solos that few women attempt (and men envy), while singing well-crafted songs with an clear, angelic voice. Some photos:

Haiku Review: St. Vincent
“And then, bound and gagged
I play a sweet guitar
solo in the trunk.”

Thoughts from Miles: “I’m not sure if it was due to the subdued-verging-on-boring sound or the annoying, blinding search lights that kept flashing into our eyes from the stage, but we left St. Vincent’s set after the fourth song. And I’m a fan of hers. At least we made it that long. The guy in front of us fell asleep after the second.”


A twitter of thoughts from Rebecca Sulock on the Wham City Comedy tour:

• There’s like 20 ppl for Dan Deacon and Wham City Comedy

• That Wham City sketch had everything: oversized novelty checks, man dressed as a mouse in sweatpants, giant blocks of cheese

• Sketches at Wham City are ridiculous hilarious, standup meh

• Also, that #whamcity comedy was pretty redonc. a coupla sketches were perspective-smashy

And finally, we’ve got at least one nomination for Battles in the Best Show Of The Night category. “Damn if Battles didn’t kill it last night. It was the type of sonic and visual beauty/mayhem that’s the perfect intersection between the electronic and rock worlds,” says Miles Britton. “Basically, it was just three guys flopping and dancing around the stage with their instruments, with two, glowing/pulsing rectangular video screens behind them. Simple and brilliant. No wonder that even at a quarter to one in the morning, the Thomas Wolfe was packed.”


About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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2 thoughts on “Dispatches from Moogfest: Day two

  1. RichardWallace

    After reading the hype and seeing youtube interviews of other folks who had seen it looking all doe-eyed and overwhelmed, Amon Tobin was a little underwhelming.
    Battles was absolutely ineffably incredible. You don’t need a big qbert-shaped backdrop to wow the audience when you’re a band like that.

  2. Andrea Kerns

    Glad to hear you enjoyed the air swimmers. AC Entertainment bought 6 of them for us and we got to fly them around all weekend… best. job. ever.
    Wish there were more pics though.

    Thanks for the mention ;)

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