PREVIEW / VIDEOS: 10 Must-See Artists @ Moogfest 2011

Our buddy Nick Isasi (@noodlecast) is making the trek to this year’s Moogfest and he’s put together his list of must-see artists who are performing at the festival. The lineup is pretty amazing and we’re excited to have him helping us cover the event…

It’s finally October, which means that it’s less than a month to go until Moogfest. Out of the four music festivals I have personally attended in the last four months, I believe Moogfest has the strongest lineup full of legends and rising names.

As you know by now, Moogfest is an annual three-day Halloween weekend music festival in honor of Robert Moog (ya know, only one of the biggest pioneers in electronic music), and it’s held in Asheville, NC where Moog lived 30 years before his death. Moog is widely known and respected for his inventions of the assorted Moog synthesizer and Moog products used in many electronic groups today.

The different assortment of Moog products will definitely hold a huge part in the bands performances but bands are not in any way limited to only using Moog creations. Instead, artists were chosen for this festival based on their unique and innovative ways of creating music and musical experiences the same way that Moog’s ideas did.

With such a stacked lineup, I’m almost scared to see the time slots for each band, because it is going to be impossible for there not to be conflicts. Regardless, here’s some bands you should try not to miss.

Friday, October 28th

Tangerine Dream
Want to talk about a legendary group? How many festivals have you attended with a band that has released more than 100 albums? This German electronic group formed in 1967, so I’ll do the math for you…that’s 44 years. Their live shows have evolved constantly as light shows became more complex. Regardless, one should expect to see some rather old looking German gentlemen each surrounded by keyboards and synthesizers led by 67 year old Edgar Froese. This is Tangerine Dream’s only scheduled stop in the US this year, and their first stop since 2008. Who knows if you will get to see them again.

Holy Fuck
In an age of laptops, and programmed backing tracks, Holy Fuck refuses to follow the trend. This band thrives on creating the sounds of modern electronic music without using conventional methods like looping or programming. They use things like toy keyboards and toy guns in addition to normal instruments like guitar and drums to keep audiences dancing throughout one of the most absurdly busy tours between 2008-2010. Expect to see a table littered with various electronic devices, held up by duct tape creating a slew of different noises.

Moby
Night one is full of groundbreaking artists, Moby being no exception. Moby has been praised and scorned for what seems to be essentially the same reason, in a successful attempt to bring electronic and techno music to a more mainstream audience he diluted the music, making it more simple and easier to listen to. Steadily performing and pumping out albums since the early ‘90s is sure to make Moby a set to remember. Playing with a full band during will surely bring a different feeling to his songs. Hearing tracks off of his new album Destroyed will have you falling in love with Moby all over again.

Saturday, October 29th

Suicide
A band that has not received nearly enough of the credit that it deserves. A band that paved the way for most other synth-pop duos to follow. Their formula is simple: Martin Rev would make, with a combination of keyboards and synthesizers, a looming, progressive backing sound while Alan Vega talked, sang, screamed and ranted batches of dysfunctional lyrics over it in a very punk fashion. A simple formula for a band that opened the door for so many others. Their Moogfest set will include an entire play through of their legendary self titled album. With so many legends gracing Asheville with their presence this weekend, make sure you make some time for Suicide. Bonus band if you’re into spooky sounding synth duos like Suicide be sure to check out Moon Duo the same night.

Amon Tobin (Isam)
With the popularity explosion of EDM and EDM artists in the last year, Amon Tobin is one of the artists that unfortunately got buried under the avalanche of rising producers and DJs. He has been constantly releasing new music since 1996, by taking influences from a handful of different genres. His new live show was created for the sole purpose of performing ISAM is second to none. Tobin will be performing from inside of a multi cube structure that will have new video mapping techniques projected onto them. You won’t leave this set with any Amon Tobin bangers stuck in your head, but you will have witnessed the best light show and effects of the entire festival.

Kode9
An owner of a music label, an owner of a Ph.D. in philosophy and some would say one of the founding artists of the early dubstep scene in London. As I mentioned above, the emergence of new artists and producers along with a whole new sub-genre of dubstep (See: Skrillex) has buried old school UK dub producers. Since emerging in 1991 Kode9 has only released two full length albums. If you want to hear some real roots of the dubstep scene heard today, Kode9 won’t disappoint.

The Flaming Lips
One could easily write three pages on this band. But I won’t, because no write-up can do this band’s live performances justice. If you’ve seen the Lips live you know what I am talking about. If you haven’t, please please please, make it a point to see these guys play live. I promise you will see every color of every rainbow possible, you will be covered in confetti and you will leave this set saying, “wow” with a huge smile on your face. Wayne coyne’s stage antics vary from emerging from a giant vagina to rolling across the audience in a giant ‘bubbleboy’ ball. This being Moogfest expect the gang to play more electronic experimental stuff. With collaborations with fellow fest attendees Neon Indian, we can all hope for a guest attendance on stage . Did I mention this is the band that released a six hour long song AND a 24 hour song?

Sunday, October 30th

Special Disco Version: James Murphy and Pat Mahoney
Since 2001 DFA Records has been a starting point for new electronic-indie music. With LCD Soundsystem playing their final show last April, It’s good to see Murphy and Mahoney sticking with a variation of live music. Known for turning rockers onto dance music, these guys have had DJ sets at handfuls of nightclubs. With the “Special Disco Version” set, expect a journey of disco edits through both popular and unknown electronic and dance music. Regardless of what they are performing, Mahoney and Murphy put care and love into each of their performances. For festgoers that appreciate the art form of the real DJ, and the roots of entertaining others with music this is a hell of a treat. Remember to bring your dancing shoes.

The Drums
Whether singing about a dead best friend, or not having enough money these guys will get you dancing. After touring in support of Surfer Blood last year, this year they are on their own headlining tour after hitting up a few festivals over the summer.Lead Singer, Jonathan Pierce seems to be unable to leave the 80’s with his infectious dancing. The lyrics and songwriting won’t be anything you will be doing backflips over but their catchy choruses and simple riffs will keep you grooving during their whole set. Bonus: If you like the idea of poppy choruses and dancing, don’t miss Chromeo on day one.

Childish Gambino
Even though most will know him as Troy from the TV show, Community, Donald Glover (AKA Childish Gambino) has made a name for himself as a rapper. After pumping out mixtape after mixtape, Gambino is slated for an album release later this year. His live shows entail him slingshotting back and forth across stage, staring down the audience with intense eyes and an almost endless stream of energy. His samples are all played by a live backing band. Combine all of the above with the wittiest pop cultural references in rap today and you have one hell of a show.

Other things to consider: Unlike most festivals, Moogfest is a ‘city festival’. Moogfest will basically be taking over Asheville and the bands will play in different venues throughout all three days. The smaller venues can fill to capacity early so make sure to get there early or else you will have to wait in line.

-Nick Isasi
Nickisasi@gmail.com
Twitter: @Noodlecast