Moogfest 2011 Installment 1

Tobacco

Although the festival ran Friday through Sunday, Tobacco played a pre-show Thursday night at the Asheville Music Hall. The elusive three-piece cranked out an underwater electro-hop drum assault for a capacity crowd. Listeners familiar with Tom Fec and Black Moth Super Rainbow will notice similarities from the Vocoded vocals to the malleable synths, but Fec takes a bit of a different direction with Tobacco with arrangements closer to underground indie hip-hop (see: Definitive Jux records) and can boast collaborations with the likes of Beck and Aesop Rock. If you also happen to be a fan of 70’s aerobic videos you’re sure to enjoy this video for Sweatmother.

Beak

Geoff Barrow’s project is a throwback to early 1970’s new wave/Krautrock. Beak’s unimposing stage presence resembled that of a band rehearsing in the comfort of their own home – assuming their home has a dungeon. Their stripped down, droning sound worked as a soundtrack for a race through the catacombs of a cathedral with occasional breaks in the journey for a reflection on the distance traveled so far or a moment of appreciation for a new discovery along the way.

Anika

An affinity for 1970’s Krautrock might be necessary to enjoy Geoff Barrow’s latest venture. By adding a European journalist, Anika, to the Beak lineup Barrow has created a sound that could have been hand-plucked from that era. However, their live performance leaves you needing just a little more. At times, Anika seemed almost uninterested in what she was doing. From the crowd’s behavior it appeared the feeling was mutual.

The Flaming Lips

Turn on the lights. All of them. Especially the flashy ones. Cue the balloons and confetti and the fifty-foot tall naked woman dancing on the backdrop screen. Readers might agree that this would be a great climax to a show or a Grand Finale but The Flaming Lips are about to begin. If you haven’t been to a Flaming Lips show then you’re missing one hell of a party. A good time WILL be had by ALL. People in animal suits, confetti cannons and front man, Wayne Coyne, in a giant plastic bubble surfing the audience are part of what’s in store. Not to mention a happy and healthy dose of alternative psychedelia. We could all benefit from whatever they’re growing in Oklahoma.

Amon Tobin

If there was one performance that was the most anticipated of Moogfest 2011 it was Amon Tobin: Isam. Tobin’s collaboration with visual artist, Tessa Farmer, yields an experience unlike any other. The erratic and ever-changing movements made it impossible to settle in and the constant visual stimulation of a mind-boggling projection on a three-dimensional structure ensured that the audience appreciated every second. From a large cube wedged strategically in the middle of the structure Tobin attends to his machine and carefully detaches the audience from reality – propelling them through his own mesmerizing dreamscape. Isam is that amusement park ride you get back in line for over and over.