By: Brittany Gaston
Moogfest celebrates Robert Moog’s life and legacy as a pioneer of music and sound. For its third year, Moogfest took place in Asheville, North Carolina, the place Robert Moog called home for the last 30 years of his life AND coincidentally, Moog Music’s headquarters.
The festival, condensed from its original three, to two days, multi-venue event took place this past Friday, October 26th and Saturday, October 27th 2012. Moogfest covered a wide range of Moog instruments, like the Minimoog Voyager, the Little Phatty, the Etherwave, Theremin, Moogerfoogers, and the Moog Guitar.
While the instruments are a big part, Moogfest, above anything else, is known for a unique and diverse lineup. Artists performing are not necessarily only those who create their work on Moog instruments only, but rather artists who have created unique and groundbreaking musical advancements that coincide with Robert Moog’s visionary, creative spirit (I do feel, however, that many artists thought that they had to be equally visionary, because some went way experimental, but I’ll go into that later).
It was interesting to watch the culture clash between the “travelling city folk” and the “native mountaineers.” I think the city of Asheville continues to underestimate how large the festival really was. The venues of of the city are probably not used to having such large scale production dance artists, or even bands for that matter, but I can tell that they really tried to make it work. Moreover, many of the volunteers who worked at the larger venues preparing beer or liquor drinks were ill prepared to deliver drinks at such a high volume. I do not mean to sound crass, but many of the volunteers were also quite older, so you saw a lot of the impatient and frustrated youngsters who were not prepared to wait for a long amount of time. Understandably, many got angry.
The only set back of the festival is the location of each venue, if only they were closer together. While I applaud organizers for making the schedule with that intent in mind, it’s still a trek to get to many of the other artists you want to see. And even if you make it in time, the lines are still long. The US Cellular Center, for instance, hosed the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, as well as the ExploreAshville.com Arena. Here at the complex, was where the majority of the major acts performed. But if you want to go anywhere else, like the famed Orange Peel, you were forced to walk a good 10-20 minutes away. So many go-ers did what I did, and just stayed at the same venue all night for the reasoning of sheer convenience. Fortunately the place I stayed had a majority of the acts I wanted to see. To improve the experience, I think a shuttle service for next year that runs from the different venues around the city would certainly make life easier and guests will get to see more acts.
Speaking of acts, let’s get down to them. Moogfest soars past its competitors due to their unique lineup. While, there are many acts that I missed unfortunately, that doesn’t mean I didn’t have my favorites. The thing about the festival, is that they want you to go like 5 artists, and leave with 10. This is for the TRUE music nerd. Pantha Du Prince, an artist who makes music that registers as “black noise,” started the event off right, with a great set showcasing his critically acclaimed album, Black Noise (go figure).
Bear In Heaven was a great sound, whose combination was a bit of psychedelia as well as electronic influences.
Richie Hawtin. I want to curse so badly, but I’ll refrain. The thing about a Richie Hawtin set, is that you CANNOT rush him. It may seem like he’s droning on, but he’s preparing you. At times, he would program so many things, that he literally looked like a secretary typing a briefing for Law And Order: SVU. Stellar mind, genuine, and unique sounds. Richie, you have a new fan for life (thanks for the hug).
Santigold was absolutely and unequivocally amazing. Her contagious tracks, ambiguous lyrics, and amazing style, create a magical experience for anyone, whether you’re on the dance floor, in the bleachers, or would you were standing by the media room where I was. Go see Santigold! You will not regret it!
Remember how I mentioned artists who went way experimental? Squarepusher, an artist known for drum and bass and acid, played nothing of what he was known for. While his set begin with some good dubstepy/jungle-ish tracks, the majority of the rest of his set felt like he had just bought that new keytar and figuring out how it worked. It sounded like he was plucking random strings, experimenting with every single type of filter, nob, button and loop the machine had to offer, only right in front of us. There was no time signature, no consistent song structure, nor were any of those “songs” in a key. Keep it simple.
Moogfest 2012 was a wonderful experience. Whether you came with a big group, couple friends, or by yourself, Moogfest had something to offer even the biggest music buffs around the country. Don’t think of the festival as anything you ever been to before.
It’s never too early to plan for next year. Keep up with the latest at www.twitter.com/Moogfest and start planning for MOOGFEST 2013!