Moogfest recaps from the non-local perspective

Of course, Xpress wasn’t the only media outlet covering Moogfest. Music magazines, blogs, radio and more were well represented, and as the writers, photographers and videographers make their way back to their hometowns, the Moogfest wrap ups and recaps are sure to keep popping up. Here are a handful to get started.

• Consequence Of Sound talks food. And music:

There’s a lot of pork in Asheville, NC. Like, tons. Everywhere you go, they’re advertising beef, BBQ, and, well, pork. It’s sort of funny because there’s also a lot of tofu. (Hey, vegans gotta eat something.) And yet it’s this polarizing, yet mutual, relationship that exemplifies the town’s unique persona. Oh, delightful food.

…Similar to SXSW, Moogfest is a community experience. You’re not trapped in one area; you’re wandering around at free will. However, unlike the Austin clusterfuck of entertainment, Moogfest hardly gets chaotic. The walks between the Asheville Civic Center and the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium slightly mirror scenes in Titanic, but you never feel like a flood’s coming. It’s so lax. For a festival awash in electronica, the crowd is sensibly tame. “Do you know where my friend Lucy is?” sounds far less jarring than ”Yo, you got any blow?”

• NPR music streams Austra’s Moogfest set.

• Photos of Tara Busch live composing on John Grabowski ‘s Flickr site.

• From Mus Scribe (by sometimes-Xpres contributor Bill Kopp):

Holy F**k’s music is twitchy, high-energy stuff, and onstage a pair of keyboardists…well, wait a moment: it may or may not be accurate to call them keyboardists. True, they have synthesizers in front of them, but at Moogfest, only rarely did they play them in anything approaching a typical manner. Instead, the instruments were treated more as sound generating machines, devices to be tweaked. The knobs and switches got more of a workout than did the black and white keys. A rhythm section ostensibly held down the backbeat, but in reality the loops did a lot the heavy lifting in that department.

…My familiarity with Hans-Joachim Roedelius comes chiefly from my knowledge of Cluster, the German ambient outfit that is in turn most well-known for having collaborated with Brian Eno. While many of the acts on the Moogfest lineup tend toward the high-energy techno end of things, I was more intrigued by the list of pioneering (read: older) acts scheduled to perform. Roedelius certainly falls into that category. Collaborating with Tim Story, Roedelius put on a very low-key performance at the tiny Diana Wortham Amphitheater, a venue that seats only a few hundred. A sit-down venue with fine acoustics, it’s the ideal setting for the sort of ambient washes of sound LunzProject brings.

• Bryan Creed for Magnet:

By night two, Moogfest had fully taken over Asheville. Costumed festival-goers in their brightest neon and gaudiest masks walked crookedly between venues, through Asheville’s hilly streets. The high price of beers and the overabundance of wristbands to prove one’s age were no deterrents to revelers. The beer flowed freely. The air thickened with the stink of marijuana. One group of young women stepped outside before Moby’s surprisingly intense, gospel-inflected set at the Asheville Civic Center mumbling to one another about whether to have another tab. (I assume they didn’t mean soda.)

If Moogfest were one-night only, this would be the one. Even as a cover band playing a rote version of Heart’s “Barracuda” at a middling counter-festival and a busking string band butchering “Folsom Prison Blues” outside a Mexican restaurant did their best to provide an alternative to innovative music, Moogfest delivered greats from the past, present and (we can only assume) future for an unimpeachable second night.

…Saturday, taken as a whole, was its own type of ecstatic high. Sunday, then, was a glassy-eyed coming down, culminating in the brutal (if, apparently, wildly popular) hangover of Passion Pit’s pedestrian pop (not helped by frontman Michael Angelakos’ grating vocal overreach). Earlier sets by Oneohtrix Point Never and Active Child were plenty pretty, providing, respectively, slow washes of electronic drones and airy church-like pop, but the sleep-deprived crowd needed a jolt. That would arrive as the audiences built for M83’s take on cinema-scale ‘80s pop rock, Special Disco Version (a DJ set conducted by James Murphy and Pat Mahoney of LCD Soundsystem) and from Childish Gambino (a.k.a. Community star and would-be Spider-Man Donald Glover), whose witty rapping and crack live band were a remarkable (and much welcome) departure from the otherwise lukewarm day.

• If you read French, you can find The Drone‘s take here.

• A wrap up by XLR8R:

Colored wigs, reflective jumpsuits, and various accessories of the glowing variety were a common sight when glancing across the throngs of festival-goers spread throughout the small college town that is still home to the Moog factory … I had to wonder if Mr. Moog would be entirely pleased with being honored in this way, as the festival largely feels like a suburban Burning Man.

…Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox was on stage alone, surrounded by his guitar, effects pedals, a drum machine of some sort, and a Moog synthesizer. It was the most gear I’ve ever seen him use in a solo performance, and it seemed that maybe the setup was new to him, too. Instead of playing some of his experimental bedroom-pop tunes, Cox spent more time self-indulgently jamming on his gear (quite loudly, might I add), which yielded both interesting and tiring results. Some people were plugging their ears by the time I left to grab a bite to eat.

…The South London duo of SBTRKT and singer Sampha played through high-energy versions of “Something Goes Right,” “Heatwave,” and other selections from the producer’s self-titled LP with a live drum set, vocal effects, and a handful of synths and MIDI controllers. The crowd ate up the pop-minded dance tunes like they were at the peak hours of an all-night rave, which left me wondering how Tim Hecker would fare when he took the same stage hours later.

…Hyperdub head honcho Kode9 delivered a tremendous DJ set to an insatiable dancefloor. The mixmaster kicked things off with heavyweight tunes like Mosca’s “Done Me Wrong” and “Hover Traps” by fellow Glaswegian Rustie, which paved the way for choice bits of high-octane grime, heavy-handed dubstep, and other tasteful bass-centric genres. There wasn’t a static body within the ebullient crowd, and as I gradually made my way through the mass and out the door, I only saw more and more people filtering into the Orange Peel. Kode9’s set was certainly the dance party of the night.

• Here, NPR streams Moby’s entire set.


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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. She 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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One thought on “Moogfest recaps from the non-local perspective

  1. Musoscribe63

    Thanks for quoting me and for noting that I’m a sometime-contributor to MtnX. I am, however, a bit perplexed why I’m quoted in a piece rounding up “non-local” perspectives. I live in Asheville and have for 11+ years. Just sayin’. By the way, my Moogfest recaps will run all this week at

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