A local electronic music fan at Moogfest, day 1

by Clark Mackey on October 30, 2010

Electronic? Electronicana? Digilog? I don’t know what to call the music in my playlist anymore.  But I know it’s good and I know I’m not alone.  Enter Moogfest.

I spent most of Day 1 at the Asheville Civic Center and Thomas Wolfe auditorium, in part because I loved the idea of combining a partial DEVO show with the other interesting acts around there.  Here’s how it went down.

The festival is a home run, glitches and miscues included.  The crowds are huge, happy, and having a lot of fun.

The crowds are also young!   Both my wife and I were suprised that the average age trended so low.  I know, it’s a heavily electronic music weekend, so what did I expect?  Hmm, I don’t know what I expected, but the crowd was young, given that this type of music has many fans well into their 30s, 40s, and 50s.  Ashvegas noticed it as well.

Big Boi during Moogfest 2010 I love all the costumes. Lot’s of effort has been put into attire – anyone else see the futuristic looking blue dragon guy downtown last night?  Or the nearly naked girl?

Big Boi impressed.  He got the DEVO overflow and made the most of it.  I’d love to hear that guy in a poetry slam.  He fed off the energy of the crowd and interacted us in a way that no one else did on day 1.

DEVO miscues.  As many know now, DEVO guitarist Bob Mothersbaugh cut his thumb and forced DEVO to change their tour plans.  In the case of Moogfest, the remaining members of DEVO combined sets with Octopus Project and performed a limited number of songs.  Unfortunately, Moogfest failed to clearly announce that DEVO was moving this combo act to the Octopus Project’s time slot, meaning that if you showed up for the DEVO time slot, you got nothing.  Inexcusable and DEVO fans had a right to be angry, since the news had broken that DEVO was still playing, using the Octopus Project as the backing band.   Their combined performance was good, especially the finish with “Beautiful World.”  It’s a shame so many fans didn’t get to hear it when a single Tweet or blog post might have gotten everyone in the right place at the right time.

The Civic Center’s weaknesses as a concert venue are never more evident than when you can walk between Thomas Wolfe and the Civic Center to here similarly great acts.  Building without a purpose = Civic Center.

MGMT blew it.  Storm in a teacup, they couldn’t command the room at all.  I was surprised, given the sonic strength of their popular songs, that they sounded so tinny and hollow.

Dan Deacon’s second show, at the Civic Center, stumbled a bit but kept the front half of the room happy.  Panda Bear was fantastic, a loud, more experimental version of Animal Collective (makes sense, given that he’s in Animal Collective).

Girl Talk was a success: He brought out a hilarious, fun, halloween themed mix – the result was a gigantic high energy dance party with sections of songs that everyone could sing along to, at any age.  Still, it was a young crowd by that time of night.

Saddest moment for me on day 1:

  • Realizing that I was skipping the Nortec Collective at the Orange Peel for no reason, since DEVO had moved.

My best moments of day 1:

  • Abandoning MGMT to walk over to hear Clare and the Reasons for a little while.  She has an amazing voice and her show became an oasis for anyone who just wanted to lay low for a moment.
  • Catching the last few songs, including the excellent finale, of the partial DEVO members/Octopus Project combination.
  • Big Boi.  The whole show impressed.

Tonight’s list of decisions:

  • Go to some of the smaller stages?
  • Dance music or find the more ambient sounds?
  • Can Thievery Corp and Massive Attack overcome the Civic Center as venue?
  • Jonsi (think the Sigur Ros songs you like) or Thievery Corp?

Clark Mackey

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