Monday, October 31, 2011

Ass Chill in Asheville (Moogfest)

Day One (Chromeo, Moby, Flying Lotus, TV on the Radio, Araabmuzik)
Traffic struggles getting out the Triangle area meant Little Dragon and Tangerine Dream were an early scratch from the schedule. As the long road unwound in front of us, we watched the temperature drop into the upper 30's - certain trouble for those of us who planned on being a White T-Shirt for Halloween.

CHROMEO. Even though we were unfashionably late, we arrived just in time for a blistering set from Chromeo.  The transition from cubicle cuties to icicle ice cubes wasn’t easy for anybody; Chromeo wasn’t able to play the entire length of their set. But holy f**k did they do their damnedest to melt the crowd.  Not only did they set an example for the rest of the outdoor performers to match, they left little doubt that Moogfest was meant to burn and we were meant to be the ins(pyre)d.
RecycledOrphan: Chromeo’s Gangsta sounded like orgasm poured into the hot mouth of a horny dragon.
mackensyChromeo sez #moogfest is "gangsta" for hanging in the rain for the whole show. I'm inclined to agree. #what

MOBY. After Chromeo, we headed to the Asheville Civic Center for some warmth and to join Moogfest’s Moby movement. During the fifteen minute walk to the Civic Center there were several discussions topics to choose from:   
  1. What are some of the benefits of hypothermia?
  2. If we set the city on fire, would they rename it Ash Ville?
  3. Is that an icicle under that wizard’s robe or is he just keeping Moby’s microphone warm?

Moby put together the perfect performance for the time and place. The crowd left pleased, and I was surprised to have never experienced an “Oh, Moby, what are you doing?” moment.
codynapierMoby was surprisingly awesome now TV on the radio #moogfest

TV ON THE RADIO. The night ended with TV on the Radio. They were tuned in to the right frequency and put on a solid performance that finished strong. I thought their best song was "Will Do" but that is probably survivor's bias, since I killed everyone who doesn't think that is their best song.

AARABMUSIK. I wasn’t able to make it over to Aarabmuzik that night, but by all accounts he knew how to blast off without any support from NASA, diet coke, or Mentos.
veryanalThe 6 minutes of Araabmuzik I saw might've been Day 1's best. Blistering. #moogfest

We headed ten minutes out of downtown Asheville into Tipi Camp. The owners met us with flashlights and hugs, informing us that we were the last visitors of the season. Given the choice between an uninsulated tipi or an uninsulated shed, I chose the shed and a long night of fumbling through fond memories, hoping for something – anything –  to warm me up. I haven’t consulted Urban Dictionary, but I believe that sleeping in a freezing shed when there are tipi's available is the exact opposite of Gansta.

Day Two (The Naked and Famous, SBTRKT, Twin Shadow, Toro y Moi, STS9)
What. A. Day. !. The incredible lineup and a solar sunstorm (approx. 5 minutes of weak daylight) made day two by far the best day at Moogfest.

THE NAKED AND FAMOUS. I experienced my first taste of Asheville’s acclaimed yum-yum scene with a Jimmy the Greek burrito from the Lucky Otter for lunch. Stomachs satisfied, our “clothed and unknown” group went to see “The Naked and Famous.” Performing outdoors, they cut electric ribbons through the air with steely accuracy. When they let loose it was an incredible array of lights and noise, spark and pattern. The Naked and Famous were gracious and excited; they seemed genuine in their thanking both the crowd and the festival for an amazing event. That said, I was glad to get out of the cold and head to the Orange Peel for what turned out to be the best back-to-back performances of the weekend.
RecycledOrphanSlipped into Orange Peel for Twin Shadow y Toro y Moi. Place looks seductive.

TWIN SHADOW. Twin Shadow was a pleasant surprise and one of my weekend favorites. It was their last show after a year long tour, and they left it all onstage except their clothes. The lead singer, George Lewis Jr., was instantly captivating, stepping out of the shadows and up to the mic with a chuckle-worthy cowboy hat. Then the spurs hit, and Twin Shadow dug a hole in the floor and invited us all to jump in. The band’s showmanship was flawless. Just when I was wondering when and where the drummer would be featured, the lights highlighted the snares and he went brazen on every bronze disc he could find. Then, though seemingly impossible at that point, the pace escalated and Twin Shadow finished on a strong note with Castles in the Snow.

TORO Y MOI. Though previously undiagnosed, Drs. Toro y Moi helped me discover on Saturday night that I “suffer” from Deep Vein Thrumbosis. They unlocked this secret during their enrapturing show at the Orange Peel. The energy and sound they produced is what I imagine fueled all VW vans in the 70’s. Want to know what cool kids acted like when our parents were our age? Just watch Toro y Moi. They tossed their bassist upfront and center for the entire set, unapologetically indicating to the crowd, “This guy is the important one. Don’t take your eyes off of him.” He let his hair hang over his eyes as he stared at the ground, fingers flying like lotuses over amper waves of gain. He never looked up; we never looked away.

brianyeazel: "@RecycledOrphan: Toro y Moi uses buttered microphones, sugared instruments. Audacity. #moogfest" Always thought of it as a tamed veracity.

Day Three (M83, Childish Gambino, Neon Indian, Passion Pit)
The final day featured several great acts. After a lamb burger at Boca on Lexington Ave., it was time for the much-anticipated M83.

M83. After “Midnight City,” the mood was subdued, almost relaxing. After being lulled into a false sense of serenity, the Claritin pumping through the recycled air finally hit home; the volume and pace intensified, and a bright filter overlaid the scene. Anthony Gonzalez knelt at the front of the stage and channeled the Unibomber, piping explosion through wires without remorse. Best finale of the weekend.
RecycledOrphanM83 blitzed the crowd by bursting through a squelching, taut finish line tape. What a finale.

NEON INDIAN. CHILDISH GAMBINO. I stayed at the Civic Center for Neon Indian, but made it clear that I planned to live vicariously through the rest of the group which was headed to Childish Gambino. While Neon Indian cycled through every sound that God handed to heaven's marching band, Childish Gambino apparently came out onto the freezing outdoor stage in shorts and launched into one of the best shows of the weekend. Neon Indian was invigorating, but was never able to match the excellence I expected based on Psychic Chasms and Era Extra├▒a.
b_mcnettNeon Indian! Alan Palomo leaves the stage with his Roland arpegiatting in latch mode. #ihaveamancrush
JakeFrankelNeon Indian makes me feel like I'm living in an 80s movie about relationship drama and skateboarding #moogfest
moogfestAlright I'm calling it now- Childish Gambino has the best dance moves at #moogfest @donaldglover

PASSION PIT. Passion Pit added a “!” to the weekend, making Moogfest! a category 5 success. They did it all and then some, sending the Sunday night crowd into a fit of fitness as we jumped and pumped without pause. In the car headed home, bumping along with 4 sleeping passengers, I ordered my Moogfest! experience as such:

  1. Toro y Moi
  2. Chromeo
  3. Twin Shadow
  4. Childish Gambino
  5. Passion Pit
  6. The Naked & Famous
  7. M83
  8. Araabmuzik
  9. Neon Indian
  10. SBTRKT